What a week (or past couple of weeks) for weed in Washington state! While we pondered the future of the budding legal pot industry under the threat of attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions (who called marijuana a “dangerous and illegal drug” in his recent confirmation hearing), some other stuff has been happening in weed news in Seattle, Olympia, and beyond. Here’s a few recent tidbits to spark your interest:
Fire at Greenside Recreational: Is it Arson?
A fire broke out at Greenside Recreational in Lake City on Tuesday night. Though it was first thought to be caused by an electrical issue, the store has since posted on Facebook that they believe the fire was an arson, and are offering a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist.
Repeat Burglaries at Lynnwood Pot Shop
The owner of Kushman’s Marijuana Store in Lynnwood is offering a $2,000 reward for the apprehension of a group of teenagers that have repeatedly tried to break into his store. Check out the video here.
YOU Could Be the Lucky Owner of Two Top-Selling Pot Store Chains Now On Sale for Only $50 Million
Suppose you became a total HERO and managed to help catch the alleged Greenside arsonist and the potential pot-stealing teens. You’d have $12,000 in reward money, but would still need another $49,988,000 to buy six marijuana stores owned by top-selling marijuana chain moguls Ian Eisenberg (Uncle Ike’s) and Ramsey Hamide of Main Street Marijuana (based in Vancouver, Washington). Both stores reel in about $30-$34 million dollars in retail sales annually, according to 502 data , which keeps track of the state's marijuana taxes and sales for recreational i502 stores.
But considering the uncertainty around the future of marijuana legality, complicated residency restrictions, and a hefty excise tax, does that $50 million-dollar price tag seem a little overblown?
Hamide recently explained to Leafly that the sale announcement was part of a move “to potentially engage in the conversation” about marijuana policies, and to prove the worth of burgeoning Washington State cannabis businesses even in the face of doubt.
...But Maybe Don’t Use Bitcoins to Buy Them
Senator Ann Rivers introduced a bill in Olympia earlier this month that would render bitcoin transactions involving marijuana illegal in Washington state. Since banks are not allowed to handle marijuana money under current federal law, bitcoin and other virtual currencies are often used in place of cash. But the lack of bitcoin “traceability” has some legislators concerned. Bitcoin dealers, however, argue that the currency is more transparent than cash.
A Stash by Any Other Name…
Oops! Stash Pot Shop, a successful Seattle marijuana retail chain with two locations in Ballard and Lake City, has to change their name due to legal pressure from Stash Tea Company of Portland, Oregon. Why not just join forces, and make Stash cannabis tea? Or a cannabis-based facial hair wax called ‘Stash’? (Ok, I’ll stop now.) Anyway, Stash’s new name will now be Lux.
You Might Finally be Able to Get Weed Delivered to Your Door.
The seemingly endless battle over weed delivery services continues—this time, a bill is being introduced in Olympia that would allow for pot delivery services throughout Washington (last year’s bill just focused on Seattle proper). The two caveats are: no bicycle deliveries and no branded pot cars (in order to protect the delivery drivers from potential robberies). “You don’t want these guys to be like a Domino’s Pizza car—as an easy mark,” City Attorney Pete Holmes, the author of the bill, explained.
...Or Maybe Just Start Growing Your Own
Washington is currently the only legalized recreational marijuana state that does NOT allow for home growing your own bud (right now, it's limited to medical marijuana patients). If passed, House bill 1092 would allow for adults to grow up to six plants (no more than 24 ounces) in their own homes. Which means space-strapped Seattelites can turn their micro-apartments into grow rooms! Hooray!
Big Data is Now High Data
The original co-founders of Leafly have launched a new venture, Headset. Their Seattle start-up uses data analytics from retail transactions so that store owners can maximize their bottom line, and it recently drummed up $2.5 million in funding.
Central Co-op Pulls CBD Products
In response to a DEA ruling last month clamping down on the legality of “marijuana extract”-based products, Seattle Central Co-op has pulled all CBD-related products off their shelves. Before this, the CBD oil products derived from hemp were considered legal for non-licensed stores to sell; now, the DEA sees no distinction between cannabis and hemp-derived CBD oils. The Hemp Industries Association has teamed up with a natural foods company to fight the ruling in court.