Uncle Ike's is helping Seattleites stay safe and sane.

Older folks are especially vulnerable to the most severe symptoms of COVID-19. But sometimes, it’s those boomers’ anxiously self-quarantining millennial kids who (via FaceTime, of course) try and fail to convince their parents to do the same.

Governor Jay Inslee’s emergency order shutting down bars, restaurants, and recreational facilities across the state may have blocked the older adults in your life from yoga class and Thirsty Thursday. But Washington pot shops are still open. And Lord knows a stoner grandparent already skeptical of the virtues of self-quarantine won’t stay home without stocking up.

Thankfully, your cool Uncle Ike—uh, I mean, iconic Seattle pot shop, Uncle Ike’s—is stepping in with some protective measures just in time for grandma’s wake-and-bake. Starting this Sunday, March 22, Uncle Ike’s will set aside its first hour of business, 8am to 9am at all locations, for immunocompromised customers and those over the age of 65. (Don’t worry, Mr. Young at Heart: For most other purposes, age is just a number.)

The local dispensary chain joins grocery stores in town in reserving specific hours for at-risk individuals. 

“It seems like our guests are trying to find a way to cope with the stress of this pandemic," says Jesse Huminski, regional store manager at Uncle Ike's. "Anything we can do to calm the minds of our neighbors and guests is essential to dealing with this crisis.”

Uncle Ike’s and other Seattle dispensaries are encouraging customers to pre-order online for in-store pickup, an effort to minimize unnecessary contact that also applies to Senior Sundays. The day my grandpa orders weed on the internet is the day hell freezes over. But marijuana use among senior citizens almost doubled between 2015 and 2018, according to a study published in JAMA in February. And Huminski says plenty of Uncle Ike's customers stand to benefit from the reserved time: "I would estimate about a quarter of the individuals I’ve helped on a daily basis were either senior citizens or immunocompromised individuals who are using our products as a form of therapy for themselves."

When it comes to weed—smoking it, selling it, protecting the people who like it—Seattle's leading the pack. Maybe with everyone stuck at home, we'll finally get around to letting 'em grow it, too.

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