Lack of Foresight


The state needs to get out of the pot business! I'm sick of not being able to buy marijuana on Sundays and holidays!
Oh, hey, are you talking about liquor?
Can't Costco just start selling marijuana?
Exactly! Experience with the large liquor distributors will translate directly to... dealing with the Sinaloa cartel?? Dealing with semi-public distribution and consumption of liquor in bars is akin to...?
You think that's fucked-up? Here in Colorado, individual cities and counties are allowed to opt out under the law we passed last month. Which means you can break the law by walking 10 feet over a county line with an eighth in your pocket. It's going to be a complete mess.

As opposed to the status quo, which isn't a mess at all.
I for one am glad that I can buy gallons of Vodka at 1:50AM 7 days a week. Who cares if it costs double? The market will eventually find some way to raise that price. They know we'd pay double.
Anyone know if the initiative says whether the stores will be (or can be) private or state-run/owned? Or is that up to the liquor control board to figure out in their rule-making process?
@3 if you wanted to buy weed by the gallon, Costco could work out fine.
Yep. Every time the voters enact a change in policy, the old policy infrastructure should be kept in place just in case the voters later enact a different policy that could reuse parts of that infrastructure. Now, that would be foresight! This Goldy guy is a genius!
I can't wait until we have some u-pick farms :)
@7 I only buy my gallons of vodka at inflated prices at 1:50 am on Holidays...otherwise it just isn't providing me the freedom I desire

So you're saying the result of this will then be "privatization" and people in minivans carting hay bale-sized pot packs from Costco?

Just wait until the Big Corporations get into the business (which will inevitably happen once pot is legal in all 50 states and federally).

They'll get their high priced lawyers to put everything in writing, pot will be easy to get at numerous places, all the "mom & pop" pot dispensaries will shut down, jobs will be outsourced, and the money you spend buying pot will go to line the pockets of the big corporate executives.

Enjoy the chaos now, while it lasts. It's messy, but it's also new and interesting. In a couple dozen years, it'll be as bleached and bland as McDonalds.
@14- 75 years of prohibition hasn't made things bland, I don't think legalization will. Lot's of micro breweries doing just fine.

Perhaps, but this being Seattle, someone will inevitably come up with a way to sell you a more rarified and tastier version at a small boutique in Georgetown, staffed by bright "young people" in hemp ponchos who will hustle you some rice paper wrapped joints for 20x the cost of the McWeed.
@10 It's the voters who had the lack of foresight. Idiot.
This is going to be the standard by which all states, sooner rather than later, eliminate their own prohibitions. Except maybe Utah. They're just no fun.

Maybe in a decade or so, when we see that legalized pot doesn't lead to the complete collapse of our society, we'll get rid of the prohibition era state-run monopoly pot stores and let it be sold in QFCs and Costco, just like we did with alcohol.

One step at a time. We'll get there.
@8 it was pretty clear that it would create a highly regulated three tier system. Which is very standard for alcohol in many states, our current system is a weird mix so I wouldn't use it as an example. Basically, private companies can take part in one of three elements of the supply chain. You can grow, distribute or retail.
As the product goes through each level, a 25 percent tax is added on. This is totally normal in a lot of states when it comes to alcohol and all those states still have people drinking booze.
What's important is that a grower cannot sell to the public (this is where our filling your growler at your local brewery law is a break from the norm, there's quite a few states where you can't do that), distributors can't grow or sell to the public. Retailers can't sell wholesale or grow. The 3 tier system is great for taxes. But it's even better for tracking product, which was a huge priority in the post-prohibition period for alcohol, there were too many channels to 'spoil' out your product and make an untaxed profit.
They will have to do the same thing for pot.
As far as the retailers go, I think Goldy is wrong on this. There already is existing infrastructure for the retailing of pot. They're already in areas approved by neighbors, they already have security. The medical guys will quickly get their lincenses. I think the bigger question will be who is the distributors. And will the state allow a net 30 to retailers or will they follow current requirements for alcohol retailers? The distributors are going to be the most important factor in demetering whether most of our pot will be Monsanto from Yakima or craft buds grown in Wallingford.
The retail and growing part is easy. They already exist. The distributor is the part to keep an eye out for.
I said this as a person who has worked in all sides of the beer industry in multiple states for a good decade.
All that's missing from this post is a tie-in to the Fukishima nuclear disaster.

I still don't regret my vote, dumbass.
@19 you should re-read the law. It does allow private companies which are licensed under one of three tiers.
@18 I have a very good friend who runs a brewery in Utah, he is really jealous of our loose brewery related laws up here.
@17 Wicked burn, dude.
At least you're not bitter.
Having just come back from a trip to Massachusetts, where you can't even walk into a grocery store to buy beer and instead have to find one a the few private liquor stores that closes at 9:00 PM, I'd say we have it pretty good here.
If people could depend on private enterprise to safely test their MJ and ensure a high-quality buzz and not run up the price to astronomic levels to support their cartel members in Mexico, the WSLCB wouldn't need to do it.

WSLCB and it's 40 new employees ftw!
@3 if they do that, MJ will cost more. Mark my words.

Sounds like a good opportunity for local bikers, gang-bangers & narco syndicates to go legit...
Did any of you read the initiative? The growers, distributors, and retailers will be state-licensed (not state-owned), and the retail stores will be marijuana-only, so Costco ain't selling weed for a few years at the least. And if they wanna run an initiative to change the law so they can, I'd probably vote for it. No national company is gonna get into that mess and face asset forfeiture by the Feds though. Not until legalization at the federal level.
@29 yeah, that's the scary part. Especially if there are weird cash up front rules which already cripple small businesses on the retail side. Because if there's a business community that's used to working with cash and has a lot of it on hand is either the crime world or pre-existing large companies.
But if those crime based companies decide to use a distributor-ship to launder money, at least they'll be paying some taxes.
@5 communities can choose to ban pot stores here, but can't choose to bust people for possession. I think the same is true in your state.
Is modern pot really that hard to grow? Like beer making it's pretty basic I think. During the summer can't we just grow our own? Every Pot I mean Pea Patch in Seattle will have some growing.
@33 just like beer, it'd easy to make it at its most rustic base form. Now, if you want to brew something that tastes like something you'd buy, it takes a lot more know-how and equipment. Pot is basically the same thing, it's really easy to grow decent but weak pot in your backyard. To grow the really special stuff takes skill.
If in ten years pot becomes more accepted, I could see an in door homegrown law take effect. Remember, it wasn't legal to brew at home until Carter.
You'd probably have to do it in door, because they'll still want to keep the kids 'safe'.
Goldy, expecting the electorate to have average intelligence is a gamble in & of itself. Expecting vision & foresight from the electorate is patently absurd. This isn't the forum to grind your axe on this.
@ 7 double really?

@ 17 Not really its worked out well so far, you got to pay for convenience and its not that more expensive for most of them. Besides state has no business in the liquor business it should focus on things like health care.
If Washington had had more success with keeping alcohol away from minors, or preventing alcoholism, or preventing binge drinking, or preventing drinking and driving, than other states, we'd still have state run stores. But the state stores didn't do any better, so why keep them around?

So if private sales do about the same as state stores at limiting who buys it, then why not sell it privately? And even if we built state run pot stores, they'd become the most hated institution in Washington in a few years, for the same reason the public hated the WSLCB stores. So why waste time on something born to fail?

You have to be a very special breed Democrat to think the government actually is capable of doing everything well.
#33, it's easy to grow. I always laugh at the stoners who go on and on about how hard it is. If marijuana were to be legalized like beer and wine, i.e., with cultivars available freely, the cartel established by I-502 would collapse overnight.

You see, pot hasn't been legalized by any remote stretch of the imagination. All that's happened is that the cartel has been transferred to state control. The experiment will fail, though. People aren't going to pay what the state's going to demand. The state will be undercut by the Mexicans and by the "community gardens."

Once all of this becomes clear, the same impluse that led to the dismantling of the state liquor monopoly will kick in, and pot will be legalized. And Goldy will have to look for some other source of tax revenue. Maybe a fee for every breath we take?

Yeah, because privatization of liquor sales has worked out sooo well - for everybody EXCEPT consumers, that is.

If cannabis were to go the same route, that is, from state control of the process to private control, we'll end up with more-or-less the same effect as what's happening with liquor currently: wider availability, but with less selection and higher prices. This is what will create incentive for consumers to circumvent the state's distribution & sales system, just as anyone close to the borders of Oregon & Idaho are doing now, which means out-of-state growers will still have a ready and willing client-base, since they'll be able to provide high-quality product for lower cost by avoiding the taxation structure altogether.

Keeping it under state regulation at all three levels: manufacture, distribution & sales, on the other hand, not only ensures quality & consistency in the process, but will, as it did for liquor under the old, state-controlled system, also ensure costs can be more stringently managed and prices kept at a reasonable level, even with taxation mechanisms in-place. This in turn, also guarantees that the revenue will remain in-state, with the proceeds pumped back into both the state economy and tax coffers, instead of much of it being funneled out-of-state as is now the case with private retail liquor sales.
I think what's got Goldy really fuming is the delicious irony of the whole thing. You see, the initiative process that legalized marijuana is the same one that abolished his beloved state run liquor stores. You really can't have your cake and eat it too. Both initiatives are the result of the public's desire to have less government restrictions on narcotics. However effective they might have been, state liquor stores are regressive and ridiculous, and the public had good reason to want them gone.
@38 it's easy to grow shitty pot, just like its easy to brew shitty beer or make shitty wine. Trust me, consumers know the difference. Or at least the ones that'll shell out 15 bucks a gram vs 10 bucks a gram. The state makes the same in taxes on hard alcohol as they did before and will be for 3 more years (you did read what you voted for, right?)
@39 I don't know why people keep thinking it'll be like what liquor was. It'll be like out of state beer/wine (three tiers) but with stores that will be privately owned but very limited in what they can sell. Mostly it's gonna be a lot of paperwork for all three levels. If you know anybody who runs a commercial alcohol producing setup ask them about the paperwork they do, multiply that by 3 and you're probably getting pretty close. The funny part was the medical industry was so stoner friendly, hardly any math was needed! But that'll be quite different with the new system.
To tell you the truth, as a brewery owner, I'm really excited that the WSLCB will have something totally different to focus on for a while. Here's hoping they get more staff, they're stretched so thin things take forever.
@38 I have no idea on what basis you are making your predictions. And saying that cannabis hasn't been legalized because it's still being regulated, that's just Grade A American-made stupid right there, that is.

@40 The Stranger should hire you, as Goldy's Translator, lol.
#41, you're obviously not a gardener. Anyone who is a gardener is laughing at you. Genetics are the prime determinant of plant quality, as long as the grower provides the appropriate growing conditions. Which, for marijuana, is basically water, light, and fertilizer.

Use the right seeds, and you're going to get a perfectly adequate product. It's much easier and more convenient to grow decent pot than it is to brew decent beer or (especially) to ferment decent wine. Almost all of the "difficulty" in growing pot is a function of its legal status.

If pot were actually legal, you'd have people growing 10 or 20 plants in their yard every summer, drying it out in the garage or basement, and winding up with enough for the whole year. It's not any harder than growing veggies.

But then, you've never tended a garden, so you wouldn't have a clue. But, oh, about 75 million Americans are gardeners, and maybe 15 million are pretty serious about it. Legalize marijuana, and the pot scene (and prices) will be unrecognizable in today's terms.

All of this is going to happen eventually. Probably faster than you think, because once the state gets in there and is charging $20 a gram and then sending the cops out to (try to) enforce its monopoly, everyone will quickly see what a joke this has all been.
@43 I only garden a little bit. Don't really have a lot of time to be honest, I wish I did, it's a really great feeling. I have many friends who grow pot and have found a huge variance in quality which would be the same thing as growing a great heirloom tomato in anchorage compared to salinas valley. That's where the difference lies.
You could say PBR and Chimay are the same, they use the same ingredients. As a gardener, you know the environment and the gardener make a huge difference. I don't know why you'd pretend otherwise. Also as a gardener you know, we could in Seattle skip buying pumpkins and grow our own, yet giving someone money is easier than putting in the effort.
You have to admit, you were woefully off when it came to the election. Perhaps you should leave the fortune telling to the gypsies.
I have to agree with Mister G here.

I used to live on a small farm. Pot is a plant. It will grow like any other farm plant. If you take Pot out of the hands of illegal cartels and grow it like any other farm crop, it should cost no more than a couple dollars a pound to produce. With the right seeds and soil, almost anyone in WA could grow reasonably decent pot in their own back yard. It really isn't all that complicated. The only reason we have complex indoor grow ops is for secrecy and security, not because it's hard to grow.
Yeah, booze is more expensive, but walking into Total Wine is a sublime experience worth every extra penny. To me, at least.
@41: "@38 it's easy to grow shitty pot, just like its easy to brew shitty beer or make shitty wine."

Give me a break. It's MUCH easier to grow great pot than it is to brew the crappiest beer and make the crappiest wine.
@7 I think this is the kernel of a brilliant (though obviously destined to fail in our free-market kowtowing society) idea. Context specific taxing (like congestion-pricing for driving). If you really want a gallon of vodka at 1:55 am, you probably shouldn't be getting it, but if you insist, $20 extra goes into the state coffers to pay for all the extra government costs that 2:30 am vodka consumption incurs cumulatively (police, fire, courts, hospitals, child welfare systems, etc).

sorry, that was kind of a boring post, wasn't it?
#44, the key to everything you wrote is your admission: "I only garden a little bit." You don't know what you are talking about. Really, you don't. The proof statement was when you attempted to discuss heirloom tomatoes. You don't even realize that it's entirely genetics -- the seeds -- that make an heirloom tomato.

Tomatoes vary. Some are determinate, others are indeterminate. Some are early, some are late. Some do better here, others do worse. Marijuana is simpler to grow than tomatoes. By far the most significant "growing difficulty" with pot is that it's illegal. Make it legal to grow in the same way that individuals are free to brew their own beer and ferment their own wine, and millions are gardeners will be growing tens of millions of pounds of good pot.

I don't agree with #45 that it would cost a couple dollars a pound. Not when a typical plant yields an ounce. I think the seeds and fertilizers will cost the typical pot grower a few bucks per plant -- maybe $30 to $50 a pound. More serious gardeners would have lower costs, but they'd put more time into it so it would even out. But that's a very minor disagreement. The state cartel wants to charge $20 a gram. I say legal pot would cost maybe $3 an ounce (11 cents a gram), and #45 thinks $3 a pound (6/10ths of a penny per gram).

Now, would the home gardener's 11-cent (or 0.6-cent) pot be as good as the state's $20 gram? I think there's a strong chance the answer would be "yes," especially over time, as gardeners gained practical experience and cultivation methods and new hybrid seeds emerged from the shadows. But even if not, the price difference would make it irrelevant. In the end, it would come down to price per high. If it took 2 or 3 hits of $20 state pot to get high but 4or 5 hits of your own 11-cent pot to get high, you'll smoke your own.

There will always be people who'll buy it at the store, no matter what. But if personal cultivation is legal, there is no way on earth that the state will be able to sustain its price of $20 a gram. If they try, then backyard gardeners would become sellers. It would be impossible to stop it. Oh, and the pot user base is certainly like the alcohol user base: the heaviest 10% of users consume at least half of the product. They would be the most likely to either grow it themselves or find someone who does. Just that part of the undercutting of the state would break the back of its cartel.

Finally: If you really don't want the big evil corporations to control marijuana, then you should be pushing for actual legalization, meaning the freedom to grow your own, and the full legalization of trade in cultivars. Put marijuana seeds in the hands of the army of American gardeners, and the game is over. This will happen anyway. The only question is whether it will happen soon, or whether the pot smokers can be placated by a state cartel charging them $20 a gram for something they can easily grow themselves for 11 cents a gram.

This is an I.Q. test, kids. How smart are you?

You know what'll be really fun about WA's cartel? Their paranoia about seeds. Just wait, you'll see. They are going to go to great lengths to make the seeds illegal. And of course the home grower will be just as illegal as he's ever been.

Why? Because he's dangerous? Nope, not at all. The seeds and the home grower will be illegal not because of danger, but because they're competition. The state will be charging 250 times production cost. The only way they can make it work is to try as hard as they can to put the competition in jail.

This is going to be funny to watch.
Hate to agree with Mister G, but nothing is easier to grow than pot. It grows like a weed. Like Dandelions, I would say.

So. Sorry, it's good genetics that make good pot. You could plant the seeds that accumulate in the bottom of your baggie and prolly get SOMETHING...OR pay 5 dollars for a good seed and get something that will impress your friends a lot (for basically no extra gardening effort).
Here's an interesting article about a couple of would-ve venture capitalists who say they wants to invest in the legal pot business.

Now, I think the two kids are clowns, and the Seattle Times was a sucker for a bunch of promoters. So why is it interesting? Because the only way "legal" pot can be (in the words of one of the shysters quoted in the story) "the next great American industry," as opposed to a packet of seeds and/or some starter plants to be bought at Swanson's nursery, is if you have a cartel operated and protected, or at least protected, by government.

Oh, and if that were to become the case, and if (fat chance) the government could really enforce its cartel, then you'd have real VCs get in there, not a couple of unemployed victims of Silicon Valley Bank's downsizing. I've got experience in the VC world, and the way the real ones work is to sell their startups. If you want this or that Big Corporation to run the "legal" marijuana show, the way to do it is to have a government controlled and enforced cartel run by and for whoever buys those startups.

On the other hand, if marijuana were to be truly and authentically legalized, meaning that individuals could grow their own just like we can grow our own lettuce and tomatoes, there'd still be a marijuana sector. But it would look very different. Pot would be just one more plant grown by big agriculture, out in the central valley of California, the Willamette Valley of Oregon, and east of the Cascades in Washington, and other places around the country.

There'd be lots of growers, and lots of competition -- most notably from amateur gardeners, who'd find it quite easy to grow enough for themselves and their friends if the prices in the stores got too high. According to the Rand Corp., legal pot can be grown in the central valley of CA, right next to the carrots, avacadoes, aparagus, lettuce, fruit, and all the rest, for less than $3 an ounce.…

Maybe those farmers would still get in the act under a state cartel system, but I doubt it. Why? Because the government's artificially high prices ($20 a gram being 250 times the cost of growing), combined with the prohibition of home growing, would make those marijuana fields very tempting targets for thieves. Costs would be much higher, and so would risks. Which would be used by the state government cartels to justify their $20 a gram prices, no doubt.

Bottom line: Make it legal for real, and your pot will cost pennies a gram, even after processing, transportation, and retail rakeoffs. Give it to the state cartel, and it'll be a circus. The only value of I-502 is that its implementation will quickly clarify all of this, including the foolishness of I-502 itself, even for those potheads who ordinarily couldn't even count the number of Doritos in a bowl if their lives depended on it.

Finally: Just to head something off at the pass, I'm not a "dispensary" or other marijuana industry participant. I truly have no personal dog in the fight. I'm just an independent cuss who's analyzed a lot of things, including businesses. It's all about the facts and the data. The "dispensaries" are just a bunch of greedy pushers, but the state cartel is a joke. You'll see. Eventually, pot will really be legal, and you'll sit there and wonder why the hell you ever paid so much.
@43- The way you talk about things you don't know anything about with such authority just increases my pity for you. I feel kind of embarrassed by you insistence that you know how to grow marijuana when you clearly have no experience and actually laugh at people who do have experience in the field. It's like you're standing in a rainstorm insisting it's sunny and insulting people for wearing their raincoats.
#53, I have plenty of, uh, connections in the marijuana growing, uh, community, and I know my way around a garden. Pot just isn't that hard to grow, or at least it wouldn't be if it were legal. Really legalize it, and you'd see it all over the place here. It'd be good stuff, too, because of the seeds. Within a fairly short time, you'd have volunteers all over the place. People would be cultivating good pot by mistake.
By the way, #51, if you planted what was in the baggie you'd have to separate the male from the female plants. Buds are a bitch, as they say. And you'd have to do it early in the growing season, before the dudes made flowers and squirted (their pollen) all over the ladies. Pollenized ladies still make buds, but they are full of seeds. See below.

If the seeds were legal at the nursery, they'd probably sell mostly female seeds. (This is the case with the illegal seed vendors -- "feminized" seeds are where it's at.) People who wanted to breed pot plants in a separate co-ed patch would want some male seeds. (Why the separate patch? Because you don't want the gals pollenized if you want the smokable dope. Which is to say that lesbian marijuana plants are the ticket.)

So, the choice would be (and actually is now) whether you want to breed plants through seeding; or going to grow sinsemellia ("without seeds") and then reproduce with cuttings (a/k/a "clones"); or whether you'd be fine with skipping the cloning and just buying new seeds when you needed them. Again, in a legal environment, I think most people would pick Door #3. Even illegally, it's pretty much what they do.
Small mistake in post #55. Today's illegal growers generally feminize their own seeds rather than buy feminized seeds. Or, if they grow indoors, they do a lot of cloning. But in a legal environment, I'd expect the vast majority of gardeners to buy either pre-feminized seeds, or use starter plants from the nursery.
@54- Yeah, keep saying something often enough I'm sure it'll become true...
So, #57, speaking of pure bullshit, are you by any chance a "dispensary" who also runs a "community garden" and justify your killer profits by telling your gullible stoner customers that you're some sort of magician grower?
@58: That, or very very invested in the high prices they've been paying all these years due to prohibition.

Either way, they're ignorant.
Did liquor become more expensive due to privatization, or due to state imposed taxes and fees.

Yea the Government is always there to help...remove the money from your wallet.