The Green Heart, the first non-profit medical marijuana dispensary and collective in Siskiyou County, opened its doors in downtown Mount Shasta last week.

The Green Heart, the first non-profit medical marijuana dispensary and collective in Siskiyou County, opened its doors in downtown Mount Shasta last week.
“There’s a need for patients to have safe access to their medicine,” said Gina Munday, senior director at The Green Heart. “We’re here for people who don’t have proper means to grow their own medicine... We are a professional facility.”
Gina and her husband Joe began The Green Heart collective two years ago, with a garden at their home in Anderson. They opened a storefront location in Anderson just over a month ago, and the response has been tremendous, they said. With patients travelling to Anderson from great distances, they decided to open a second location in Mount Shasta. A third location in Shasta Lake City is soon to follow.
The collective operates by allowing members to share their own high quality, excess medical marijuana with other members, Joe explained. They can donate their excess or ask to be reimbursed their growing costs. By law, the non-profit collective can only charge for the cost of plant seeds, potting soil, fertilizers, water and artificial light used in the growing process, plus a reasonable charge for time and labor, Gina said.
The Green Heart verifies all medical marijuana prescriptions (known as recommendations) before issuing patients a membership card. A membership fee of $10 helps the Mundays cover their overhead and operational costs, they said.
Walking into The Green Heart, patients will enter a reception area. Only those 18 and older who have a verified medical marijuana recommendation will be allowed inside the medicine room, where they can select from a variety of products, including marijuana tinctures, drinks, cookies, brownies, candies, butter and even salad dressings.
Six varieties of marijuana are currently available at the Mount Shasta location with such names as Aly, Purps, AK-47, X-Factor, Grand Daddy Purple and Purple Kush. While AK-47 goes for $15 a gram, Aly sells for $11 a gram. When asked the difference between the varieties, Gina explained that marijuana grown indoors is higher quality due to the lights and nutrients used. “It’s like comparing filet mignon to top sirloin,” she said.
The Green Heart will also carry a small selection of glassware and other means of consuming the medicine, such as vaporizers, though they are not a “head shop,” Gina said.
“There will be absolutely no consumption on site,” said Joe, who emphasized that The Green Heart wants to be sure to comply with all laws and regulations.
In 1996, California State Law SB 420 and Proposition 215 legalized the possession and use of marijuana and its derivative products by people with a doctor’s recommendation.
Medical marijuana can be prescribed for a variety of conditions, including sleeplessness, nausea and chronic pain including head and back aches. It is also used to treat symptoms of those with cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, and a number of other medical conditions. However, the amount of marijuana which can be grown and possessed varies from person to person, depending on the doctor’s recommendation.
“We encourage our members to stay within all limits, and abide by the guidelines,”  Gina said. “Anyone who violates the terms of our membership agreement will be terminated... We want to be sure that everyone is safe, both our members and the public. We want to stay open.”
The Mundays said they will continue to live in Anderson, and commute to Mount Shasta a few days a week. They have employed two local residents to run the business when they are out of town, they said.
Though she’s aware of the negative stigma attached to medical marijuana use, Gina said she’s “sad to see that type of mentality. It’s really about choice... if a cancer patient is sick of taking Vicodin or morphine, they can choose to see if medical marijuana can help relieve their severe pain and improve their quality of life.”