Political winds blowing ill for pot growing in Washington
“You would think a self-professed agricultural capital like Chelan County would celebrate Bitterman's investment (of $1 million). After all, keeping young people in the farming business is increasingly difficult,” writes Lester Black in a fascinating new article -- headlined Why Are Farming Counties in Eastern Washington Shutting Down Pot Farms? -- in Seattle’s The Stranger.
“But Chelan County's leaders did not celebrate Bitterman's investment. In fact, they did the opposite, voting unanimously this past August to make Bitterman's farm illegal,” Black adds in a well-reported article that literally finds the issue pitting neighbors vs. neighbors and anti-regulation conservatives vs. newly pro-regulation conservatives.
In neighboring Yakima County, the debate over whether cannabis belongs in farm country is on the Nov. 7 ballot. The county is home to 20 pot-growing operations and citizens will be asked their thoughts on the matter in a non-binding advisory proposition put forth by county commissioners.
The question they’re being asked is this: Should the Board of Yakima County Commissioners continue the complete [though unenforced] ban of marijuana production, processing and retail sales within unincorporated Yakima County?
A “yes” vote on the measure means a “no” vote on legalized pot, and a “no” means “yes,” as the Yakima Herald-Republic outlined in an editorial this week suggesting that the proverbial baby be split: Keep existing pot businesses, but also keep close watch.
ALL IS NOT A STRUGGLE IN THE state of Washington's weed world, however, as two new stories -- one in Money magazine and another in Spokane's Spokesman-Review -- illustrate.
Former state senator Chris Marr is the subject of an entertaining human interest story in the S-R detailing how he parlayed the state’s marijuana legalization into professional gold. The former Majority Whip and Vice Chair of the Transportation Subcommittee is a lobbyist and marijuana industry consultant living in Olympia.
“I normally call what I do ‘strategic and regulatory consulting,’” he tells the S-R’s Staci Lehman. “I really didn’t get into lobbying specifically for marijuana – it has only been in the last year-and-a-half that people have been contacting me.” Click here to read the full story.
Meanwhile, Money magazine is out with a profile piece on Jody Hall -- The Ex-Starbucks Manager Who Is Now the Weed Queen of Washington -- whose Seattle-based Goodship baking company has sold more than $600,000 worth of edibles to consumers in Washington and California in the last year. And the future appears bright.