I was walking through Pacific Beach on December 15 at about 6 p.m. and stopped to admire an enormous painting on a brick wall at 1421 Garnet Avenue when a voice called out to me, “Hey, hi, come on in.” I craned my neck to take a look at the rather inconspicuous signage near the entryway, which read: “Agape Collective – Marijuana Medicine.”
I decided to take a walk down the lengthy passageway to have a peek inside. There I met the collective’s owner, 30-year-old Walden Keyes, a competitive surfer, aspiring actor, and entrepreneur who gave me a tour of the place. Keyes’s two-week-old collective services approximately 63 patients and is equipped with cloning stations and a counter lined with at least a dozen jars of varying strains of pot.
“Strains change daily, and payment is on a donation basis,” said Keyes, adding, “Our patients get a free joint with every visit.”
I learned more about medical marijuana in the 20 minutes I talked with Keyes than I’d learned my entire life. Keyes, a Mission Bay High School graduate, shared that he had been raised by hippies and although he stated he doesn’t smoke the stuff, he has seen it affect others in a positive way...one of those being his 80-year-old father, a decorated Purple Heart veteran and former POW.
“Going to my parent’s house, I swear it’s like seeing Cheech and Chong,” said Keyes, laughing, “but seriously, the medical benefits are profound.”