Small Pot Farms Are Biting the Dust

The market in Washington State is set up to favor the big guys.

Comments

2
Small everything is biting the dust. This is the inexorable direction of all things.
3
Sounds like they're facing many of the same issues of scale that produce and dairy farmers have faced for a long time (compounded by the heavy tax, of course). I wonder if it'd be possible have a sort of "farmers market but for weed" where customers are happy to pay a premium—assuming that analogy carries with it the assumed difference in quality you might find at a produce farmers market and I do not know if that's the case with weed.

My god, my above paragraph is unreadable. You get the idea.
4
@2
Law of nature, then, is it?
5
Like small breweries and distilleries, we need boutique weed farms. What could be more fun than traveling around this incredibly beautiful state, checking out the best Washington has to offer? Where's the harm in that, Washington?
.
Oh, and fuck off Mr. Sessions.
Although, you are pretty fucking funny on SNL:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_I5QE2D…
6
If you want small farms and processors to survive, support them. Buy their products!
7
I'm not saying this is all the LCB's fault but they almost bankrupted the liquor industry when they ran it and from what I'm hearing, they're a big part of the problem.

Another issue I'm hearing about from credible sources is Russian cartels buying up licenses and squeezing out the competition while being hidden by the front men/women whose names are on all the official paperwork. They have deep pockets, they can afford to lose money now as they work towards being monopolies in the long run.

While I enjoy the low prices for good quality products, the industry here seems to be built on a very flimsy foundation, opening the state and the business owners to all kinds of potential threats and/or problems. All I can say is I hope these issues work themselves out without too much damage to the hard working people who put their all into these businesses in good faith.

8
@3 There are some proposals for (legal) farmers markets for weed. It's an interesting idea and it's just a matter of convincing the legislature that it is workable. Example, every retail store has cameras running 24/7 covering every inch of their property and storage for at least 45 days of footage. How would this work in a farmers market? Are there concerns about security given that most purchases would be made in cash?

@5 There are boutique weed farms and again, some proposals for "direct sales" i.e. the ability of a farm, if they wanted to, to sell product grown at a given location at that location. Similar areas of concern -- farms are not set up for retail sales, and so the overhead involved may be impossible. Also, the legislation would have to be carefully crafted if the goal is to help smaller farms.

For the curious, I own OZ. Recreational Cannabis in Fremont. Our policy is that whenever possible we will buy flower, pre-rolls and concentrate from producers who are not adequately represented in our neighborhood. We simply do not carry the largest producers, and that's because we like to support legalization and give everyone an opportunity to be in the Seattle market if they have a quality product a fair price.

@6 Precisely, if you want to see small farms survive, it's pretty easy, honestly. Find a reliable store that has a wide selection of vendors and choose product from small farms. If you don't know much about the farms, ask. If the staff doesn't know which farms are small and family owned, then find another store.
9
Odd to see an ikes popup...what an amazing coincidence.
10
Lester, you missed a big issue. The big farms aren't playing by the rules. 2 of the largest are no owned by Canadian companies. NWCS is one of them, BMF is the other. There is no way this is legal.
11
We warned them during the I0502 campaign when they wanted to put the WSLCB in charge. This was while the State liquor store suckers were put under. If you did not expect this you simply were not paying attention.
12
@10, Regulatory capture is never supposed to be legal. Furthermore the D's hate the 1% but have no problems selling a monopoly to them
13
To get this right we are going to have to run the WSLCB out of town on a rail just like we did with liquor.
14
8. " ... [boutique-style] farms are not set up for retail sales, and so the overhead involved may be impossible."

One word: Co-ops. Or as suggested above, farmers' markets, or whatever we the peeps (eventually) decide to allow. Or quaint little stands where we drop the cash in the little pail.... Like with honey. (Do you carry Vashon Velvet's?)

So yeah, @13. we gotta get the WSLCB bureaucrats away from our weed.
And Mega Farma / Monsatan too.
15
A major oversight in the writing of this article:

When the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board initially set out the rules for cannabis production and processing, it provided very favorable rules for small businesses. Namely, that the canopy would be limited to 2 million SQFT. That limit was drawn from a BOTEC report which was commissioned by the agency. Since that time, and without any further consulting work to back up their decision, the WSLCB has raised the canopy limits over and over again.

The total licensed canopy now exceeds 19 million SQFT. To put that in context, if EVERY person were to consume cannabis in the state and cannabis grows only produced a single crop a year, EVERY person would need to consume more than 1/4 pound of cannabis each year.

The fundamental problem here was that the agency that is responsible for creating rules created favorable rules at the outset and then abruptly and without responsible consideration for the consequences, increased the maximum allowed canopy. That is why small farms are going out of business.
16
@8
I never knew that was your policy on small farms, but I sure could feel it the first time I entered your store. Because of this, Oz is pretty much the only place I shop.

Thank you for your commitment to the plant and the small farmer. I LOVE KIONA (& Walden too!)
17
Same here @16, though I'll also hike up to a small place on Capitol Hill that carries another small farm, Tumbleweed from Benton Co. that's been around since early in the game. They seem to be at fire sale prices too, so a bit troubling.

I don't see much point in a farmer's market. The product we get in the retail shops is already often a little too fresh - weed really has to be dried - and there isn't such a need for the farmer to be on hand, that it's worth driving hours each way to Seattle, stand around all day selling to a few people, while he or she likely has plenty to do at the farm. Some kind of co-op, maybe, though of course clearing it with the Liquor dept would be tricky.
18
Market consolidation at play. What’s new here.
19
@18 Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.