4:20 Friendly – Spokane, WA
Prior to 2012, small business accountant Carol Ehrhart and veterinary technician Alissa Taylor had never even considered working with cannabis, let alone owning their own pot shop. As a lesbian couple, they were heavily involved in advocating for referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state, the same year Initiative 502 was on the ballot. “After the election,” Ehrhart recalls, “Alyssa and I were joking, ‘Okay, we can get married—now let’s open a pot shop.’” The joke evolved into something more as Ehrhart started crunching numbers, and in December 2013 they applied for the lottery to become one of Washington state’s first recreational pot shops. Discouraged by the rental properties available to them, Ehrhart and Taylor built a shop called 4:20 Friendly on their own property instead, where they act as cannabis ambassadors for new arrivals from the nearby Spokane Airport.
The structure they built has the look and feel of a cozy log cabin, with neatly lined shelves of flower, edibles and concentrates. Behind the cabin, Ehrhart and Taylor keep an additional structure onsite for hosting private, cannabis-centric parties with live music throughout the year, including annual blowout celebrations for 4/20 and 7/10—the unofficial hash oil holiday. But that’s not the only form of community outreach 4:20 Friendly does. Beyond their close partnerships with local growers, they donate to nonprofit organizations like the Spokane AIDS Network and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
As firm advocates for marijuana’s medicinal applications, they’ve also been working since day one to make their products more accessible and affordable for cannabis patients. All of their budtenders are medically certified, and medical cardholders are privy to $45-60 worth of discounts during their monthly “Wellness Wednesday” promotions. “There’s nothing that makes us feel better than talking with a customer or patient that has seen life improvement because of their introduction to cannabis,” beams Ehrhart. “We get to hear those stories every day, and that makes us feel good at night.”