By Janie Wallace, Woodbrook
First to give you some information that should alleviate some of your fears. Even though a lakewood address got published, I do NOT intend to produce or process legal cannabis in Lakewood of which Tillicum is a part. Specifically I do not intend to produce or process in Tillicum. There is no commercial/agriculture zoning. Zoning would take agonizing work to change. The Brookwood area is zoned equestrian use, not agriculture. On our farm in the Brookwood area we grow way too many organic vegetables, horse food and of course horses to eat it. All legal. And speaking of legal we do NOT grow ‘legal in Washington medical marijuana’ (MMJ) because kids and horses go together and kids and cannabis do not.
We are community members, we are parents, and we are farmers, “Growers of Fine Vegetables and Heritage Fruits.” We have earned college degrees and advanced degrees in Communications, Business, Philosophy, International Studies, English Literature, Art and Agriculture. We have worked closely with WSU and the WSU Extension over the last thirty years. We are Master Livestock and Master Gardener graduates. We are the quintessential organic zealots. But most importantly we can pass the rigorous background check and scrutiny required by the State to grow legally.
Growing cannabis is similar to growing tomatoes indoors. The process includes light, heat, water, control of the environment. The business of growing cannabis is altogether different. It has until now been in the hands of both types of criminals. Those who have criminal records and those who don’t. Those who could and did stay under the radar and those who didn’t. The voters of Colorado and now the voters of Washington have legalized cannabis in those states. Alaska votes next year. The federal laws have not changed. The point of having a state government is to govern the needs and desires of the people in that state. Logically the water laws of New Mexico and Washington are different. The number of school days, the minimum wage, arterial speeds, things that govern our everyday life differ from state to state and the vote is the guide of those laws.
So we the people now have a law. What are we going to do about it? I intend to grow ‘legal in Washington cannabis’ in an area that WANTS and INVITES my presence. Commercial realtors will ferret out I502 happy landlords. I502 compliant licensees will find them. Cities have already published maps to show where they are zoned for commercial agriculture. If I’m a city and get some taxes from a ‘Legal in Washington Cannabis’ operation I’m happy. If I’m a producer of a commercial agricultural crop do I want to grow for the restaurant trade at maybe $10,000 per season of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers or do I want to grow for the Washington State Liquor Control Board for a yet to be determined number of zeros after that number? Capitol Press estimates six million dollars per acre. As a business person I’m going to get the permit. Pay the non refundable fee and the licensing fees. Follow the letter of the law and then expect the Law Enforcement Agencies and the cities to invite and then embrace my presence and my revenue. Protect me my family my home and my business. Provide me with safe roads, safe parks and safe places to shop and recreate.
Why? Because The voters asked the state to come up with a plan to take the drugs out of the hands of criminals and out of the hands of children. I’m a voter. I want the controlled substance controlled. I want the rule followers to take the lead. I want the rules even though they aren’t perfect to be followed. I want the people who are over 21 and want to procure their drug of choice to have legal access so they aren’t buying it from the children. But hey, personally I think caffeine, sugar and food dyes are drugs, and don’t even get me started on pesticides. (If you think children buy from adults you need to look around one more time at who has the best computer and cell phone. Remember who had all the pagers ten years ago so they could keep track of where the party was – they had to make pager bans in the high schools. It wasn’t the working single mother. It was the 18 year old new to the workforce who couldn’t find a legal job.) There are plenty of studies about who and what are the drugs of choice and weather they should be and what impact they will have on the roads. There is a fair share of disinformation on the internet as well but here are some news and research sites you may have missed: 420 magazine, CBC News (canadian), Why keep it out of the hands of kids? For a simple answer, look at kidshealth.org and compare tobacco, sugar caffeine and food additives.
To regulate an adult legal drug you need to define the legal path so you have can define the illegal path. Like with alcohol, and cigarettes there is abuse of the system. A system is only as good as the people who run it. Since we voted to create the system you can help to refine it, help to regulate it, help to keep the laws working for the people who vote. That means if you voted against it and it passed anyway you enforce the parts you can agree with and don’t interfere with the parts you can’t, until you can change it. If you want a voice inside the system to keep the constraints intact work inside the system.
So if you are an upstanding citizen, have an exemplary business ethic and know a serious gardener who can maintain 2000 square feet or more of indoor growing space I would prefer you join me in attaining a license to grow, process or retail ‘legal in Washington’ cannabis’ FOR the voters of the State of Washington, so that the laws are followed, and enforced from within the system.
Some of the constraints that the illegal growers have never had to respond to:
Criminal background checks
State Environmental Protection Act
Chemical and Fertilizer regulations
Air Quality permits
Solid Waste Handling
Hazardous Waste permits
Mercury containing bulbs
These things affect all of us and all of our children and even our children’s children. Not just the children who get involved in the drug culture. I hope you can look at the bigger picture here and embrace and strengthen the regulations.