Legal Cannabis Is Stimulating the Economy

economy stimulating cannabis money

It’s no surprise that cannabis is a successful business. It may, however, be a shock to learn that in Oregon alone the recreational cannabis industry brought in $1.2 billion in 2016 alone. To say that cannabis is a booming economic industry is saying it lightly.

“Cannabis is a job-creation machine,” Oregon economist Beau Whitney told Marijuana.com. “On a national basis, the $50 billion cannabis market is essentially the equivalent to the U.S. wine market ($55 billion).” In fact, over 900 businesses were licensed in Oregon in the last year, and 1,225 applicants wait approval. That’s 2,142 recreational cannabis businesses in Oregon alone.

Similarly, in Washington there are over 735 recreationally licensed marijuana businesses operating in the state of Washington, including Mary Jane’s House of Grass. That compares to 559 Starbucks locations statewide. Of the licensed businesses, 58% are processors and producers, while 23% are retail locations. And, with so many retail locations, 90% of the population lives within ten miles of a cannabis store. However, between strict location laws and residential approval, it is a challenge for a store to begin operation. This ongoing discussion helps keep cannabis approval ratings high.

In addition to monetary value, cannabis is also adding to the job sector as around 300,000 jobs in the U.S. are currently related to this industry, with the ability to rise to more than one million as states legalize consumption, according to Whitney. This is a drastic boom comparatively to education where 105,000 jobs were created last year and construction, where 219,000 were adding, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

And, cannabis is sure to grow in some of the fastest growing cities where the housing market is booming, like Portland and Vancouver. In Vancouver, the price per square foot rose over 11% to $185 and the average price for a home was up to $297,000, according to Trulia. Similarly in Portland, Oregon, where there is a surplus of buyers and a deficit of sellers, the prices of homes continues to increase.

“Inventory in the ballpark of $300,000 is rapidly disappearing as prices far outpace wages, a scenario exacerbated by the continuing fallout of a homebuilding draught,” as stated in an article on Oregonlive.com, as well as “the region’s surging population and the tendency of current homeowners to stay put instead of move up.”

In addition to creating jobs and putting money back into the economy, cannabis funds are contributing positively to the community. According to an article in thenewstribune.com, in the next two years, Washington anticipates raking in $730 million. And, 60% is slated to go toward public health programs, including Medicaid, substance abuse prevention efforts, and health centers. However, some Washington lawmakers, including Senator Ann Rivers, would like some of the funds go toward elementary schools, whose budget continues to drop.

While other politicians, like House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, thinks the money should go to healthcare as stated in Initiative 502 that legalized recreational marijuana in Washington, this is a good problem to have.

“We can’t ignore public health or access to health care,” said Sullivan, “The initiative that passed dedicated that money to those causes.” However, with marijuana expected to rise $75 million between the state’s next two budget cycles, maybe the law should expand to fund even more public resources provided by the State of Washington.

“Marijuana isn’t our solution to education funding,” said Senator John Braun. “It helps us build a stable and balanced budget, but it’s not a panacea that fixes all our problems,” he added.

 

And, these positive results continue to benefits future states looking to add legalization bills and will eventually help to convince the federal government to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance list and officially back states that enable pro cannabis laws.

In addition to monetary figures, it was found that in 2015 – the most recent data available – that over 29 million grams of cannabis were produced in the State of Washington. This is equal to allowing all residents, regardless of age, to receive four grams. And production is only expected to rise.

As loose cannabis sales continue to rise, so do edibles. In 2015, over 731,000 units of edibles were sold and the data continue to show a rise each month since legalization. The top cannabis-infused product has been baked goods like cookies and brownies at 35%, following by general desserts like chocolate, caramels, and brittle at 33%.

 

Since legalization, Colorado has discovered that cannabis is a stronger economic driver than 90% if its industries. This, we’re learning, is similar in other locations where recreational legalization has come to pass. In fact, it was this realization that spurred passage in places including Washington and Oregon.

Today, cannabis is a numbers game. As medical research continues to discover the many benefits associated with cannabis – improved mood and sleep; decreased pain, anxiety, depression – and it continues to add jobs and funds in states where medical and recreational cannabis is legal, it’s become a game-changer.

Ultimately, the future of cannabis is shifting. Visiting a marijuana dispensary in Vancouver is becoming more normalized and it’s contributing to the economy in ways so dramatic they were unforeseeable. The vast sales show how acceptable cannabis is becoming and at Mary Jane’s House of Grass, your marijuana dispensary in Vancouver, we couldn’t be more delighted.

We’ve seen first hand and heard through our customers the wonderful benefits cannabis has contributed to their lives. We recognize the high demand for quality products our customers expect and receive from us. We know there is a growing future for this industry and we can’t wait to see where it takes us next.

There is a marijuana dispensary in Vancouver on every other corner, but with high demand and room for more, we’re glad to be apart of your community and can’t wait until you visit again.

A Brief History of Cannabis

cannabis, plant, leaf

By now, nearly all stoners are aware of the differences between indica, sativa,and hybrid cannabis varieties. These familiar names bring to mind our favorite strains, Blueberry, Green Crack, Dutch Treat, the list goes on, and continues to grow as people continue to cross-breed. With so many varieties, many bearing multiple names and phenotypes, choosing the right strain for you can be quite the difficult proposition. In order for one to best navigate these winding, murky waters, one must first be willing to learn a little about the origins and biology of this remarkable herb.

Cannabis evolved between 34 million years ago and 6.38 million years ago in the Kush mountain range, which extends from North-eastern Afghanistan all the way down through Northern Pakistan, and India’s northern border, forming the western portion of the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region. Seeds found in sites dated to be as old as 12,000 years suggest that our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors were at least partly responsible for spreading cannabis from this fairly central region to Africa and Asia as they migrated between these areas. As humanity settled into it’s various different corners of the globe, the cannabis that they had collected and taken with them began to adapt to the various different climates in which it was dropped along the way. It was in this way that C. sativa and C. indica separated and became distinct species which began self-sustaining wild populations.

As cannabis adapted to different areas, it began to differ greatly from its geographically distant relatives, both physiologically and in the terpenes and cannabinoids that they produced. Cannabis which stayed in the mountainous Kush region became known as indica and grew to be short and stocky, producing dense buds. These adaptations protect against the cold, wet, mountain climate which can cause rot in less adapted plants. Meanwhile cannabis which landed in the hot, low-elevation African and Asian climates grew tall with a loose, fluffy bud structure, allowing them to grow and reproduce very quickly and became known as sativas. Sativa varieties even made it over to the new world by way of the Spanish Invasion of South America.These different regional varieties are what became known as the “Landrace Strains”, and these are considered to be the genetic forebears of all the strains that we know today.

A landrace strain can best be described as cannabis that has come from a specific region which has not been crossbred with any other strain, and are considered to be genetically “pure” sativa or indica cultivars. Strains like Hindu Kush, Moroccan red, Durban Poison, and Acapulco Gold are all examples of landrace strains, illustrating just how far this plant has spread and how adaptable it is. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about these strains is how different locations and growing conditions can affect such drastic differences in taste, smell, and effect. Differences which came fully to light in the early 1960’s, when strains from Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan were brought to Northern California by adventurous stoners who had hiked the fabled “Hippie Highway” and returned with seeds. Conditions are very similar in the two regions, both being mountainous terrain on roughly the same parallel, allowing for these strains to adapt quickly, producing new phenotypes in the process.

As growers came across all these different strains, the first intentional crosses between the two subspecies began to spring up all over California and the West coast. Strains that are now world famous such as Skunk, Big Bud, Haze, Northern Lights, and many others made their debut between 1960 and the mid 1980s in a frenzy of crossbreeding. Even the U.S. Government got in on the action, breeding the strain G-13 at the University of Mississippi in an effort to understand more about the plant. One night somebody stole the seeds to the strain and soon enough, people were smoking government weed. Strains developed during this time are referred to as heirloom strains and they are still highly prized for their unique flavors and highs. Eventually, the cross-breeding fever spread overseas to the Netherlands, where legal tolerance allowed for a more scientific approach to breeding. Dutch breeders went figuratively nuts, producing a litany of new hybrids like Dutch Treat, and Cherry Pie. In fact, many of the hybrid strains that we know now were produced by dutch growers during this time.

In this day and age, there are so many variants, it’s nearly impossible to keep them all straight. With genetic lines ranging from 95% pure indica or sativa, to lineages which have been scrambled to the dank smelling winds, finding the perfect strain can be difficult. Additionally, strains which were at one time staples of the cannabis world have become difficult, some even say impossible, to come across. An industry wide lack of desire to cultivate the old strains, combined with the danger of transporting landraces from their native homes are definitely not helping in regards to reviving these older strains. All’s not lost however, as a large number of growers have been dedicating resources towards reviving the old landraces and heirlooms.

As humans continue to grow and change as a species, so to does our oldest friend. Cannabis is as versatile and ever changing as the people who grow and smoke it, leading to a symbiosis that has stood the test of time. We must be cautious however, if we lose touch with the origins of cannabis we run the risk of losing strains and their unique effects. Understanding where our favorite strains come from and how they grow is important to maintaining the genetic integrity and quality of smoke from our favorite strains for years to come. Hopefully, with the proper care and attention, we can continue to innovate without losing touch with our roots.

 

  • by Budtender Andrew

What You Need to Know About Senate Bill “Path to Marijuana Reform”

Senate Bill path to Marijuana reform

If you are a cannabis connoisseur who regularly visits our Mary Jane’s House of Grass dispensary, then you’ve probably heard about the newest pro cannabis bill that was introduced to the Senate on March 30. But, whether you’re hearing about “Path to Marijuana Reform” for the first time, or you just really want it to pass, here’s what you need to know.

Today, already 95% of Americans have some form of access to legal marijuana and more than 20% live in states that legally allow adults to consume cannabis. This group of three bills, introduced by Oregon politicians Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Earl Blumenauer, aims to grant legal access to all Americans in cannabis approved states, introduce responsible federal regulation, and legitimize and protect marijuana businesses throughout the U.S.

Unfortunately, since cannabis is illegal under federal laws, consumers in compliance with legal state laws can still be arrested and charged with a federal crime; they can even face jail time.

Similarly, cannabis retailers, researchers, healthcare providers, producers, and more, who are adhering to their local state laws may face jail time, financial penalties, and asset forfeiture. Additionally, they also have a more difficult time (than federally approved businesses) receiving bank loans, accessing bank accounts, renting property, conducting scientific testing, and the challenges don’t stop there.

In spite of these current provocations, the cannabis industry is on the rise. It’s expected to provide 300,000 jobs by 2020 and grow to a $24 billion business by 2025, far surpassing 2016 totals of $7.2 billion. This, coupled with the dramatic benefits of cannabis and low-risks, especially when compared to substances like alcohol, is the driving force for the reformation.

So, here’s what’s currently included in the plan. The “Path to Marijuana Reform”, as outlined by Wyden and Blumenauer, is comprised of three separate bills introduced as a package. This is what they entail:

Small Business Tax Equity Act

This bill is focused to benefit the small businesses, like your local Mary Jane’s House of Grass dispensary. It would repeal the current tax penalties aimed directly at state-legal businesses that are forced to operate against direct approval by the federal government. It will also allow these owners to claim deductions and tax credits that are afforded to all other small businesses.

Responsibility Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act

For consumers and businesses alike, this potential law would remove any federal criminal penalties, including jail time, legally upholding the rights of citizens adhering to their respective state cannabis laws.

It would also remove current barriers faced by cannabis business owners. Under this law, they could just as easily open a bank account and secure advertising as any other legal business.

Additionally, it would ensure that those who consume marijuana are granted the same access to federal programs such as federal housing and student loans. It would also not deport or deny U.S. entry to legal immigrants who are found to consume cannabis and are complying with their state laws.

This potential law would also remove the burden of veterans legally acquiring medical marijuana in states where it is legal, and would similarly protect pro cannabis Native American tribes under both state and federal law.

Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act

This particular bill is focused on federal regulation. According to the proposal, “It would impose an excise tax on marijuana products similar to current federal excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco.” The rate would top out at 25% of the sale.

Additionally, it would be required for producers, importers, and wholesalers to receive permits from the Department of Treasury, similar to the permits required by each state.

As suspected, the bill suggests regulating marijuana in a similar manner to alcohol, which is already common practice (if not stricter) in states where medicinal and recreational marijuana is already legalized.

While the bill would federally uphold state rulings in regards to marijuana, at this time it would not ensure legalization across the U.S. as marijuana is regulated very differently across state lines. More specifically, it would still prohibit the sale or distribution in states where it’s illegal under their current law.

Support Behind the Bill

While states are beginning to legalize marijuana in various capacities, Oregon in particular wants to protect its growing industry and all parties involved, which, said Wyden, was why he presented the reform.

“This three-step approach will spur job growth and boost our economy all while ensuring the industry is being held to a fair standard,” said Wyden in a press release.

“As more states follow Oregon’s leadership in legalization and regulating marijuana,” added Blumenauer, “too many people are trapped between federal and state laws. It’s not right, and it’s not fair. We need to change now – and this bill is the way to do it.”

It should be no surprise that Blumenauer is one of four founding members of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus introduced February 2017. He was joined by Republican congressmen Dana Rohrabacher of California and Don Young of Alaska, as well as Democrat U.S. Representative Jared Polis of Colorado.

Polis has also been pushing for marijuana reform. He introduced a bill in 2015 that was the basis for the “Path to Marijuana Reform” and also introduced a watered-down bill in March 2017 that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and regulate it like alcohol. And, he’s not the only one. U.S. Representatives Tom Garrett, a Virginia Republican, and Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaiian Democrat, also submitted legislation this year. “Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” also requests to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act, placing the authority in state hands.

While proposal bills are nothing new, increased bipartisan support for the federal government to place marijuana regulation in state control is gaining overwhelming support. Ultimately, federal approval will ensure safe regulation and consumption by those living in pro cannabis states. And this is good for everyone involved.

Oregon is Proposing Cannabis Pesticide Changes

Oregon cannabis pesticide laws

All agricultural products are closely regulated no matter where you visit in the U.S. This is to ensure you consume fruits and vegetables that are grown with care and are safe to consume. For this reason, pesticide use is strictly controlled.

Similarly, pesticide use on cannabis is strictly controlled. You don’t want to inhale a joint or eat an edible that was sprayed with potentially harmful chemicals just like you don’t want to eat a tomato that was coated in those same pesticides. Ideally, everything you consume should safe, including your cannabis.

That’s why your Vancouver, Washington dispensary, including us at Mary Jane’s House of Grass, develops close relationships with its distributors. Not only do we want to guarantee you with the best cannabis that provides the high you are looking for, we want to assure our customers that no matter what they purchase, it was grown with care.

While we have established diligent standards on our own, states including Washington, California, and Oregon have also introduced laws to mitigate any harmful reactions and regulate cannabis through testing to confirm its safe for consumption.

However, just as all industries evolve, so does the cannabis industry, which is why Oregon is rethinking its current pesticide laws.

Just like tomatoes, the Oregon Department of Agriculture lists cannabis as an agricultural crop in terms of pesticide regulation, so the guidelines are similar, but evolving. With that in mind, the most recent iteration of approved pesticides was updated on April 26, 2017. While the list is not a recommendation or endorsement, it does distinguish between prohibited and condoned pesticides.

In addition to the changing pesticide list, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is also considering revisions to the cannabis testing rules. While some believe the change is spurred by high testing prices and long waits for results, it seems that high contamination is the main culprit advancing change, according to an article in the Oregon Cannabis Connection.

As it turns out, 10% of flower and upwards of 26% of cannabis concentrates fail the pesticide contamination test in Oregon, according to the OHA. However, failure rates were even higher in most labs when it comes to concentrates. The estimates are closer to 50 to 70%, but could have been considered preliminary tests and were therefore never reported to OHA.

It seems imprudent to limit testing, but more testing leads to more expenses for the consumer and, by law, the state is mandated to consider both consumer cost and public safety when installing rules. With that in mind, Andre Ourso, manager of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program added, “The agency will evaluate the public comment. If it comes out that this is not something the public wants, the agency won’t adopt the change.”

Unfortunately, it seems as if this new introduction for limited pesticide testing was a surprise to many when it was announced by OHA and OLCC on March 3.

According to a Rules Advisory Committee member, and head chemist at OG Analytics, Rodger Voelker, the pesticide changes were a surprise introduction. “We thought we were going to be talking about some of the problems concerning edibles and batch sizes and addressing a wider scope of issues,” he said.

The concern does not stop with him; during the testimony other state representatives discussed their concerns with limiting testing as well including Representative Carl Wilson who said, “I guess a question that I would have is: given the responsibility that we have here, how do we vouch for walking back on safety standards.”

And Representative Julie Fahey asked, “Right now there is a relatively high percentage of concentrates and extracts that are failing and yet we seem to have set up what seems to be a ‘safe harbor’ where if your usable marijuana is tested to use concentrates, we are rolling back the requirements therein allowing this random sampling.

However, others were more moderate, like Senior Policy Advisor for the Governor Jeff Rhoades. “We are still testing more than any other food safety arena and we want to maintain that level of public safely, that an important piece for us,” he said. “ But we also want to be mindful of our statutory obligations to make certain that we are not making this overly burdensome or that we’re costing Oregonians good jobs, as well.”

It’s definitely a topic with no clear answer, but change is coming either way. While the public comment period, which was between March 15 and April 30, has now ended, whatever new rules come into place will be implemented by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission by June 1, 2017.

Today, in Oregon, testing is around $350 to $400 at most labs, which includes all the required tests to-date. This is way up from previous rates due to the stringent ongoing standard changes, but, says the labs, is not a result of “price collusion”. In fact, it’s frustrating to lab owners, who are faced with backlash for rising costs, said Camille Holladay, owner of Synergistic Pesticide Lab in Portland.

“Beyond the standard costs of rent, insurance, labor, utilities, marketing that most businesses have, there are instrumentation/equipment purchase and ongoing costs, specialized labor costs, accreditation related costs, calibrations, consumables, solvents, chemicals, gases, hazardous waste costs – I could go on.”

While something needs to change to ensure fair pricing and improved safety, one thing is for sure: education on pesticide use is needed. Among the cannabis crops that failed, some failure was seen among allowable pesticides. This shows that approved cannabis pesticides are being used improperly. For this reason, Holladay is proposing an education campaign this spring to ensure growers know how to properly read pesticide labels and follow the directions as specified.

While this has been a hot topic in Oregon, it’s not distinctive to this state. Similar conversations are taking place in other states where cannabis is now legal. The industry is new and evolving and our Vancouver, Washington dispensary is rolling with the punches.

Regardless of the changes to come, we will continue to ensure, regardless of state regulations that when you purchase cannabis and its concentrates at Mary Jane’s House of Grass you are receiving the highest quality products.

How Marijuana is Regulated in Washington

marijuana regulations WA Washington State law, WSLCB

Medical and recreational cannabis are now legal in the State of Washington, but there are strict regulations in place to protect everyone involved from the growers, to the marijuana stores in Vancouver, to you, the consumer. So what rules are in place to ensure the safety and health of everyone involved?

For starters, if you’ve visited in marijuana store in Vancouver you’ll know that you must be 21 years or older to legally purchase and possess cannabis. In fact, if cannabis is sold to a minor under 18 years old, this person is subject to up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Just like alcohol, cannabis is a well-regulated substance. However, the restrictions are even more limiting. In addition to the age minimum, there are also purchasing restrictions. In Washington, if you enter a marijuana store in Vancouver or another city, you are limited to purchasing up to one ounce of recreational cannabis flower, as well as 16 ounces of solid, marijuana-infused edibles, 72 ounces in liquid form, and 7 grams of concentrate. However, medical marijuana purchasers can obtain up to 24 ounces of bud and grow up to 15 plants as long as they received a valid prescription from a licensed physician, and are purchasing from a medically endorsed dispensary.

Pesticides & Fertilizer

In Washington, the organization responsible for regulating and licensing cannabis is the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. This board evolved to ensure safe growing practices, distributions, sales, and consumption. They also work closely with other state agencies.

When gardening, it’s not uncommon for farmers to use pesticides to rid vulnerable plants of harmful insects to ensure the crop survives, and cannabis is not immune to these practices. In order to protect you, the board worked closely with the Washington State Department of Agriculture to compose a list of pesticides that meet specific criteria. While the list is not an endorsement or recommendation, it is a comprehensive guideline for pesticide use.

Ultimately, pesticides are allowed if, at a minimum:

  • They are registered with the EPA and WSDA.
  • The product label states it is safe to use on food crops.
  • The pesticide is used according to the specified instructions.

To see a comprehensive list of approved pesticides, visit the Washington State University Pesticide Information Center Online.

Similarly, if fertilizer is used to bolster plant growth, the used item must also be registered by WSDA. The ones specifically omitted from the list are those labeled for turf use only.

 

At Mary Jane’s House of Grass we are committed to purity and when we vett farms, we ensure they are using 100% natural pest control solutions.

Testing for THC & CBD

In Washington, it’s not enough for a cannabis grower to just list the THC levels of their strains and then pass it straight along to a marijuana store in Vancouver. Instead, following the approval of I-502, strains are first tested by a certified third-party laboratory. However, potency is not the only test performed. The third-party labs also perform required tests for microbial analysis, pesticide analysis, heavy metal analysis, and residual solvents.

Drugged Driving

While the purchase and consumption of medical and recreational medical marijuana is legal in the State of Washington, it is not permitted for individuals to consume cannabis in public. Similarly, since it does impair one’s senses, it is also illegal to drive drugged.

Similar to rules related to drinking and driving, a driver in Washington provides implied consent and, when pulled over, if an official deems a person has been driving drugged, this person can be subjected to breath or blood testing to determine if alcohol or drugs were indeed within the person’s system while he or she was operating a motor vehicle.

If convicted, even just one offense can lead to mandatory imprisonment, a hefty fine, license suspension, and the installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. In Washington, a motorist with detectable THC amounts above 5 ng/ml is guilty of DUID.

Dispensary Locations

To ensure a safe community setting, it is required that a cannabis dispensary must be at least 1000 feet from the following locations:

  • Elementary and secondary school
  • Playground
  • Recreation center
  • Child Care facility
  • Public park
  • Public transit center
  • Library
  • Game arcade

 

However, in some instances, local government can now alter this buffer and decrease the distance from 1000 feet to 100 feet.

Environmental Permits

Air quality is regulated in tandem by various agencies and the Washington State Department of Ecology. Both the production and processing of cannabis are sources of odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can negatively impact the environment if not regulated. For this reason, growers may be required to have construction and air quality permits.

Similarly, growers may be able to discharge wastewater into local sewage treatment plants. But, if this is not allowed, a water quality permit is needed to protect surface and groundwater. They may also need a water rights permit.

Like all businesses, cannabis growers and dispensaries are subject to rules and regulations to ensure that the local environment is protected. In addition to the permits, cannabis and its waste cannot be burned and all waste that contains 10% or more THC is considered “dangerous waste” that is toxic and needs to be handled appropriately.

Before you ever step foot in your local marijuana store in Vancouver, the State of Washington imparts strict practices for growers, processors, and distributors to ensure public and environmental safety are first priority.

In addition to state requirements, at Mary Jane’s House of Grass we take things a step further and impart even stricter standards for products that come into our store. We want our customers to have an optimal experience whether they are purchasing bud, edibles, or oils. For this reason, we only offer the highest quality products developed by top-notch producers.

Is The Cannabis Industry Getting Ahead of Itself?

sunshine farms cannabis vancouver mother plants

With just a few years of legal recreational cannabis under Washington’s belt, it seems the cannabis industry may be moving faster than the law makers can handle. Cannabis consumers have waited a long time for legalization and our excitement shows. Simple legalization isn’t enough, we want more. We want cannabis friendly cafes, clubs, parks, bars and restaurants. Our favorite plant has so much to offer, but for all our desires, there are laws and regulations blocking us from our ultimate end goal.

A recent article from the LA Times indicates the direction the cannabis industry would like to go – toward expanded legalization and “Amsterdam style” smoking clubs and cafes. It also speaks to the reluctance the new administration is instilling in the industry, and state level government alike. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has eluded to a tightening of the fist, so to speak, on cannabis and decriminalization.

Colorado state lawmakers recently removed language from a bill that would allow cannabis smoking clubs to exist legally. This was a well-supported law. It had bi-partisan support in the house as well as industry support. Currently there are several private cannabis clubs in operation under fringe laws and zoning regulations, operating in that all-too-familiar grey area the industry is trying to move past. However, they’ve been subject to random raids by local law enforcement.

The bottom line is that the cannabis industry is heading in one direction, or trying to, and the government isn’t ready for it to go there. Yet.

As cannabis consumers push the boundaries of legalization more and more pressure will be put on lawmakers to expand cannabis laws and regulations. Unfortunately those changes could be bogged down in red tape for years just waiting for government officials to catch up with what the cannabis industry already knows; weed is enjoyable and can be extremely beneficial to many thousands of people.

“We as an industry have already come so far. I look back at the industry in Washington when legalization was fresh,” says Amy, an owner of Mary Jane’s House of Grass, a dispensary in Vancouver, Washington. “No signs were allowed on recreational storefronts at all. We weren’t even allowed to give out business cards!” It took those on the forefront of the movement to bring these faults to the attention of the lawmakers and work with them to come to an understanding. “After all,” says Amy, “many of them are business owners, too. We had to make them understand how difficult it would be to have business interactions without being able to exchange information freely and easily, and advertise our existence.”

Laws have loosened in Washington State since. They now allow rec shops to install signage on the outside of their building, within size limits, but they still don’t allow cannabis clubs or cafes like the consumers would like. The industry is teetering on a precipice, waiting to see what the new administration does. Will it crack down? Will it turn the other cheek and let states operate as they see fit? Will they legalize across the board? The industry is waiting on baited breath to find out.

In this post-prohibition landscape it’s difficult to navigate the laws, regulations and rules governing our favorite plant. But we have to remain hopeful that the government will catch up with the consumers’ desires. It’s in our hands as the cannabis community, and the voters who installed our governing officers, to make it known to the lawmakers what we want.

“It’s about education,” says Amy. “We are working hard to de-stigmatize this plant and re-educate people about it. There’s a lot of false information surrounding it, and the entire industry and community at large could benefit greatly from its complete legalization.” She’s right. Washington State has made over $401 million in marijuana tax revenue to date. And that number continues to grow as the stigmas subside and consumers find their way to dispensaries and shops to see what the new era of cannabis consumption looks like.

Could the feds really turn away from such a cash crop? That remains to be seen. Cannabis consumers and supporters need to make their wishes known by contacting their representatives, voting at every opportunity, and demonstrating their support with their buying power. Support for your local dispensary is support for legalization.

 

10 Reasons The Stoner Stereotype is Dead

stoner stereotypes, friends gathered smoking cannabis, playing games

Even with recent outspread legalization, many people still believe in the old stoner stereotype that people who use marijuana are unkempt, lazy, stupid, unproductive, or otherwise unsavory. But the recent legalization and opening of recreational stores are proving those stereotypes are just plain wrong.

Today’s recreational user is more like what you might see in your local coffee shop. Maybe because the new retail recreational stores are looking and feeling more like your local coffee shop. From the soccer mom to the college professor, from the young hipster to the white collar business professional, we are seeing a drastic trouncing of the old stoner stereotypes. Here’s why we think the new retail store format is helping to shape the new face of cannabis consumers.

1. Safer access. Gone are the days of the back alley deal with unsavory characters. Consumers over 21 can enter a clean store with professional bud tenders who are knowledgeable and friendly. That’s causing folks who wouldn’t go to the black market before, to come try the new legal retail market instead. And these are folks who definitely don’t fit the typical stoner stereotypes.

2. Safer products. All of our products are lab tested for quality, potency, pesticides, and to make sure there’s not a bunch of excess leaf, twig or other unsavories in your cannabis. Just the good stuff.

3. Higher quality products. Gone are the days of ditch weed. Legalization has brought formerly underground grow operations out into the open as Washington’s new producers. These are people who have been growing for years but are now able to expand their facilities and production, allowing for better growing conditions. These folks aren’t your average stoner growing pot in his mom’s basement. These are true artisans at their craft who are now able to grow in the most desirable conditions. Top quality growing facilities = some pretty amazing cannabis.

4. Control over the experience. If we haven’t experienced it ourselves, we know someone who has. A bad trip. When all you wanted was to feel stimulated and party all night, and what you got was a 6-hour couchlock. What was available in the market before was mostly indica. Why? Because it is smaller (read: easier to hide), and faster to flower (read: faster to market). But indica is the variety that can sometimes leave you couch-locked. So, if you bought from your dealer looking for something to get your motor going, or inspire your creative side, you may have been disappointed with the experience. The realization that you can be highly functional on weed, even more alert,  AND predetermine your outcome, is changing that stoned-on-the-couch stereotype.

5. Wider selection available. Post prohibition marked a rapid increase in the types of available liquor, beyond bathtub gin. The landscape is no different here. Legal growers are out in the open, allowing them better facilities and resources. They are cross breeding and creating new strains with great fervor and the result is an outstanding selection of flower. Want it to smell like berries? No problem. Want to taste an earthiness and enjoy a heightened sense of creativity? You got it. Need sleep? We’ve got you covered.

6. Closet consumers are “coming out” in droves. In a brilliant and touching ad, Green Flower Media calls out these closeted consumers and asks them to share their story. It’s called #ComingOutGreen. And we love it. Mostly because it shows average people. People that you might see in your local coffee shop, at a PTA meeting, at the high school football game, at work. And here’s the kicker, most of the time you would never have guessed they used cannabis.

7. Legality makes it legit. Those law-abiding folks who were reluctant to try it before because it was illegal, are more willing to step into a clean store to purchase it safely and legally. Also, see #6.

8. Tasteful advertising. Gone are the images of scantily clad women in compromising positions surrounded with smoke and holding a bong. Also gone are the slew of slang terms that bring the stereotypical stoner to mind.

You know, terms like pot, weed, dope, grass, green, ganja, herb, reefer, cheebah, chronic, Mary Jane, bud, skunk, doobage, sticky icky, and wacky tobaccy. As well as phrases like getting high, stoned, baked, ripped, faded, sparking up, smoking up, toking up, and, lest we forget, getting blitzed out of our gourds.

The best MJ marketers will not be using any of these terms because of the derogatory associations and because they really no longer apply.

9. Viewing cannabis growth for the art it is. We spend a lot of time and energy focusing on the art and craftsmanship that goes into our favorite beers and wines. Cannabis is no different. Much the way a viticulturist is a master of the grape vine, the people growing cannabis are experts in plant breeding, growth conditions, nutrients, and masters of the plant itself. With the new legalization, these folks can finally spread their wings, and it’s causing an amazing and sharp increase in the quality and variety of the products they are able to bring to market. With retail stores offering “meet your grower” experiences and featuring weed like fine wines, the stigma surrounding it is quickly fading.

10. Consuming responsibly. The new industry is being forthright in its advertising and advising folks to consume responsibly with ad campaigns focused on  anti-over-consumption and starting slowly – because let’s face it, this shit is getting real. Some strains are testing at 40% THC! And the edibles? Whoa. So seriously, start slowly and consume responsibly.

Our recreational clients are getting better quality, safer products and the education to empower them to make the right choice for them and the experience they want. All of those things put the power in the hands of the consumer for the first time. Consumers are finally emboldened to “come out”, and that alone is blowing the stereotype away (and blowing the doors off some closed minds).

Is Cannabis the Next Frontier for Women Entrepreneurs?

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There seems to be an emerging trend in this predominantly male industry – women leaders. When Washington’s I-502 was voted on in November 2012, it was the women aged 35-55 who pushed the majority to success. “As a woman, and a mother, this statistic piqued my interest,” says one of our owning partners. What changed?

One can only surmise that it was a shift in the thinking of this particular group of women, mothers in particular, that pushed that change in law. Campaigns aimed at that soccer-mom age group focused on reducing youth access through a regulated system. It was the knowledge that allowing an unregulated black market to exist was more dangerous to our children than a well-regulated system with plenty of checks and balances. After all, drug dealers don’t check ID.

It was also the language in the law that designates significant tax dollars to the funding of schools and education programs. When voters can finally see a large increase in school funding without an increase in property taxes, they notice.

“For me,” says Mary Jane’s House of Grass owning partner, Amy, “it was a big leap from ‘Yes I support legalization’ to ‘Yes I’ll open a pot shop.’ I’ve always supported legalization. I think it’s a much better and safer alternative to synthetic prescription drugs and could possibly hold the cure to many of today’s plaguing diseases. But making the leap to actually putting my stamp on a place where people can come and buy it openly was scary.”

It was a big leap from ‘Yes I support legalization’ to ‘Yes I’ll open a pot shop’.

Amy cites several reasons for the fear including fear of what friends, family, and community might think, and she admits being surprised by several of their reactions, both positive and negative. “It’s never easy being a pioneer,” she says, “but it’s always exciting. There have been so many obstacles – things we never even thought would be obstacles. But it’s a bold new world, a brand new industry emerging from a world of prohibition. How many times does that happen in your life? Never? It’s incredibly exciting to think of the possibilities.”

Women are not only being emboldened by the new legalization, “they are also gentrifying and gentling pot’s testosterone-laden image,” according to the Denver Post. The face of the industry has always been predominantly white and male. “The industry is long overdue for a feminine touch,” says Amy. In this new marketplace, pot shops need to adapt to a new emerging market of middle-aged women. When you enter shops like Mary Jane’s, you will see plenty of female faces. Women have dominated retail for years and marijuana is no different.

Mary Jane’s House of Grass sees women like Amy as a great potential market. “Women in my age group,” says Amy, “are prescribed more anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications than any other demographic in America. Wouldn’t it be great to offer them something completely natural, without the side effects of synthetic drugs? I want to foster the open-minded approach to cannabis, answer the tough questions, and quell their hesitations.”

It’s no surprise that women are now dominating the fields of edibles and topicals. It’s also not just coincidence that those products are the ones that most appeal to women. Many women interested in the plant’s properties want the plant extracts for more practical uses, like trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression and anti-aging applications. Until now, products like these were largely unavailable to the general public.

Amy predicts that consumers can expect to see advertising campaigns aimed more at women in the near future, calling it ‘the softer side of pot’. The industry has a lot of growing to do (no pun intended) and women present a large part of that market – on both the entrepreneur and consumer sides.

“Most of my career I’ve been in fields dominated by men, so this one is no different. And the few women I’ve met in this field have been very supportive and welcoming. We’ve got to stick together.”
Organizations like Women Grow, a national, women only organization aimed at fostering relationships through networking and support, are cropping up to serve this growing demographic. Will cannabis be a bold new frontier for women entrepreneurs? We’re betting on it.

Mannequin Challenge, Accepted

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You may have heard of, and even seen, the Mannequin Challenge videos going around. The Mannequin Challenge equates to a group of people, performing everyday ordinary tasks (mostly), that freeze like mannequins while a videographer walks through the frozen crowd of people to take video of them in their frozen state. The resulting video is crazy cool simply because it’s definitely a challenge to be that still for that long.

Mary Jane’s House of Grass decided to accept the challenge and give you a peek into the world of the recreational pot shop. We had a blast doing this, and we hope you enjoy the whole 59 seconds of it. More to come!

 

Cannabis Concentrates: A Beginner’s Guide

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Colorado sold $27 Million worth of cannabis concentrates in April 2016 alone. So what are concentrates and why is everyone buying them?

What are concentrates? Concentrates are the result of separating the cannabinoids from plant matter, increasing their density and potency using many types of extraction methods. This includes things like dabs, oils, tinctures and topicals.

Why would someone choose a concentrate over flower? Concentrates offer a higher percentage of active chemicals than raw flowers. Cannabis customers are used to seeing THC levels at 10-25% in raw flower compared to 80% in concentrates. When it comes to cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBG, patients want as much potency as they can get.

There is debate over certain extraction methods as many health-conscientious consumers point out that along with inhaling choice active chemicals you are also inhaling residual petroleum particles into your lungs from butane hash oil.

Remember to be a thoughtful consumer and inquire from your budtender about the starting material and extraction process used in the concentrate you are looking to purchase.

But I digress, we will attempt to simplify the processes and explain the terminology to everyone reading this who doesn’t have an industrial chemist degree.

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Pic-or-Treat?

We’ve added something fun for Halloween at Mary Jane’s House of Grass. We’re calling it Pic-or-Treat. Here’s the deal. Come in, find some fun props, take a selfie, post that selfie and tag us or check in, and you’ll get a treat. It’s simple and fun. We encourage silliness and spontaneity. Take several. We don’t mind.

Here’s a little teaser to get you started. Nyssa, Autumn and Amy got into the spirit and took a few fun shots.

Mary Jane's House of Grass Halloween selfie station, pic-or-treat, trick-or-treat, candy, photo booth, props

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April Showers Bring May Flowers

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But what do May Flowers bring? Sales.

Celebrate and welcome May with us by picking some flowers for your favorite bong or flower vaporizer. What? You say you don’t have one? Why, we can help with that too!

All bud on sale 10% off May 1-7. Select farms 20% off!