On Monday, Okanogan County Commissioners announced that they would adopt the recommendations from the Cannabis Advisory Committee (CAC) members as interim controls for the county. The CAC is comprised of several WSIA members in Okanogan Country that have advocated for sensible cannabis regulation in the county for years.
This decision lifted a moratorium on new cannabis businesses in the county and expansion of existing ones, while also further defining the rules on where hemp may be cultivated. The interim rules require that hemp is cultivated at least 10 miles from any i502 recreational cannabis cultivation operations and zoning for hemp will be confined to a specific area under a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) where i502 recreational cannabis cultivation will not be allowed. Before the moratorium, all cannabis operations were subject to a CUP process, creating uncertainty for residents and cannabis producers alike, now there are a number of zones where cannabis operations do not require a CUP process, and a few high-density population areas where cannabis is not allowed at all. This creates better clarity for residents and more financial certainty for those looking to invest in cannabis in Okanogan county.
The CAC received kudos from Jim Detro, one of the most conservative commissioners and most reticent to embrace cannabis. He was told by other counties that a cannabis advisory board of industry and non-industry folks wouldn’t work, but it did. The moratorium was lifted and interim controls were passed unanimously by the three commissioners. This has proven that cannabis can be successfully integrated into communities with a little bit of open communication and cooperation between cannabis business owners and non-industry residents.
Nearly 4% of Denver's electricity is used by indoor cannabis grow operations says Colorado Public Radio. WSIA President, Jeremy Moberg, has long said that Washington's energy use for indoor cannabis cultivation is around the same percentage. Read the full article here.
"In the coming decades, many marijuana industry insiders, like Colorado Harvest Company’s Tim Cullen, expect marijuana grows to look more and more like traditional agriculture. Dark warehouses will make way for sunny greenhouses and outdoor farming operations. This is starting to happen in Pueblo, and a few greenhouses have taken root in Denver."
Read Lester Black's new article from this week's edition of The Stranger about the environmental benefits of sungrown cannabis and the growers that are making it happen! WSIA Board President, Jeremy Moberg (CannaSol Farms) and Board Treasurer, Jade Stefano (Puffin Farm), are both quoted in it speaking about their products! Way to go!
Read Lester's response to some common phrases he hears about sungrown weed below:
"I don't smoke outdoor weed."
"Pot grown outdoors is really only good for putting into edibles."
"Indoor weed will always be more potent than outdoor weed."
F**k. That. S**t.
WSIA is proud to support our Board Treasurer, Jade Stefano, who was on the cover of the February issue of Cannabis Business Times! Below is an excerpt from the article "Terpenes & Tenacity" about Jade and Puffin Farm:
"In addition to all the work she is putting in her farm to ensure her business’s survival, Stefano is fighting to reduce regulatory barriers that keep outdoor growers from being competitive through her role as treasurer of the Washington Sungrowers Industry Association (WSIA), a pro-outdoor cultivation advocacy group founded by CannaSol Farms owner Jeremy Moberg (who was featured in the inaugural issue of Cannabis Business Times in November 2015).
Most notably, the WSIA is working to change the requirement that growers must put the harvest date on packaging going to dispensaries. “That hurts sun growers by having a harvest date for the consumer to fixate on,” she says, adding that most outdoor farmers only do one harvest a year and keep dried cannabis in storage to sell throughout the year.
The WSIA also is battling communities and environmental agencies targeting outdoor cultivation businesses. For example, local clean air agencies are citing outdoor farms for odor violations despite it being impossible for those farms to implement air filtration systems. (Other agricultural businesses are exempt from these complaints thanks to protections offered by Right to Farm laws.) Also, Chelan County, north of Ellensburg, is “forcing all of their sun growers to either move their farms [or] go indoors,” Stefano says, noting that there are nearly 50 farms in that county that are at risk of being pushed out within the next year. “All of these forces, political and otherwise, are making it really difficult to grow in the sun,” she says."
WSIA President, Jeremy Moberg, was quoted last night in Marijuana Business Daily about the impact of the traceability rollout on producers and processors in Washington.
"Moberg, also president of the Washington Sungrowers Industry Association, said he temporarily laid off six of his employees this week and left $18,000 worth of cannabis sitting in a van because his company couldn’t get integrated with Leaf Data.
The only employees he’s paying are those who are trying to figure out how Leaf Data works, Moberg said.
“If you think about five days in this industry, it’s millions of dollars worth of transactions that are not happening,” he added."
Read the entire article here: Hiccups with traceability system rollout costing Washington state cannabis producers thousands
New traceability system causes major problems for producers, processors, and retailers...WSia responds!
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) rolled out the new traceability system from New Leaf Data on February 1st, and many producers are having trouble getting their products registered in the system, delaying getting product to retail stores while in store supply is dwindling. This has cost the state MILLIONS and are costing producers jobs and money every day that this remains to be a problem. We are now in day six, and WSIA is now calling on the LCB to revert to the Unified Contingency System (UCS) immediately! Read our entire position below in a letter sent to the LCB, Washington State Legislature, and Governor Inslee's office!
Read this article in the Seattle Times regarding the overproduction problem in Oregon. We are having the same problem here in Washington, which forces our producers to drop prices to below what is profitable. The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board must take up this issue now, before more growers are pushed out of business! Read a snippet from the article below:
"The marijuana industry has been watching federal prosecutors in states with legalized weed like Oregon closely since Sessions rescinded the so-called Cole memo. U.S. attorneys in states where marijuana is legal under state law now face the delicate question of how to do their jobs and hew to the federal ban.
Williams sought to calm fears among pot growers, but said the market has a problem that must be addressed. Everyone needs a “bottom-line answer” on how much excess marijuana is being produced and how much of it winds up on the black market, he said."
Members and Allies,
Yesterday, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) voted to remove the requirement of placing a harvest date, manufactured date, or best by date on cannabis packaging in the upcoming CR102. Although there was agreement among the participants of the Packaging and Labeling Advisory Group, the effort was torpedoed by the Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA) after the workgroup's recommendations were made. WACA lobbied the Board privately to leave the harvest date as it was clearly a benefit to their membership. The ways in which WACA lobbied against harvest date removal brings into question the influence WACA seems to hold over the LCB staff and Board, although recent exchanges seem to indicate that the Board was not happy with WACA asking to speak personally with each member in order to keep issues out of the public domain. The WSIA’s persistent attention to this issue, even after many groups had given up on it, is the reason that we were ultimately successful. Harvest date has been detrimental to Sungrowers and indoor growers who cure their product for longer times, and has created many unintended consequences in the marketplace, such as a consumer preference for uncured, indoor grown, and perpetuating the fallacy that “fresh” cannabis is best.
This decision was a reasonable solution presented by a variety of organizations which will support a sustainable cannabis industry in Washington. We want to express our gratitude to all of those that supported these efforts as we work toward an industry that is inclusive of sungrown cannabis production.
WSIA President and Founder, Jeremy Moberg, was instrumental in getting the governor’s office to lean on the LCB to remove harvest date. He said this about the decision, “The removal of harvest date as a packaging labeling requirement will help lessen the consumer bias for fresh weed and will create a cannabis culture that places a high value on the curing process for producing a quality smoking experience. Not requiring harvest date on the packaging will have the added value of reducing market stigmas against sustainably grown cannabis giving the consumer the ability to choose high quality, cured, sustainably grown cannabis while making for a more sustainable cannabis industry.”
We will continue to keep you updated as this decision’s public hearing period will open in March, and we will let you know how you can support future efforts!