Fewer Pot Stores, More Pot
The Feds Get Strict, and the State Supports More Marijuana
On September 6, the Washington State Liquor Control Board announced it would scrap a method for measuring distances between legal pot shops and schools to meet new demands from the US Department of Justice. "They made it clear that the measurement we are using is not their measurement, and they will enforce their measurement," says liquor board director Rick Garza.
State regulators rightfully acceded to the demand, thereby establishing 1,000-foot buffers for pot business around certain properties "as the crow flies," not by a "common path of travel" (such as by walking down the sidewalk).
Despite the bullying tactics—listen to us or we'll send in SWAT teams—the move marks the first fruitful cannabis conversations between state officials and the DOJ, which said recently it will allow legalization laws to proceed in Colorado and Washington.
Mapping potential pot properties will also be easier, and Garza suggests it may help city councils across the state feel more comfortable about pot shop locations in their cities. While the downside is that there will be less space for pot shops in Seattle, there is also good news for pot smokers this week.
The liquor board previously announced that it would limit legal cannabis production in the state to 40 metric tons. But actually, the agency tells me, there will be another 40 metric tons grown for extracts and edibles. "To produce the 40 metric tons of usable marijuana, we would need only 1 million square feet," says project lead Randy Simmons. "The additional 1 million square feet is to produce what is needed for extracts."
That's good news for hash-oil dabbers and brownie lovers. Assuming cannabis extracts represent 10 percent of starting material weight, that's 140,000 ounces of extract to satisfy the legal market for weed food, hash-oil pens, and pot lotions. That's enough for every pot store to sell a little more than an ounce of extract a day, which may not meet the actual demand, but at least it's double the original number announced by the state.