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?

women entrepreneurs cannabis industry legalization

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

mary jane's house of grass sunburst background, black friday deals

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

cannabis concentrates 101, how to, knowledge

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.

cannabis concentrates, shatter, wax, crumble, budder, oil, RSO, rick simpson oil, hash, kief, dabs

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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!

Ditch the Ditch Weed

sunshine farms chernobyl cannabis trimmed bud

At Mary Jane’s we have a reputation for being the best at what we do. Naturally that carries into our new full-service cannabis location as well. As our customers have noted, the quality of bud at Mary Jane’s House of Grass is superior. Why is that?

We’ve searched the state of Washington for the very best farms and growers. We know there’s more to growing cannabis than the final product; our buyers are also experienced growers. We expect the highest quality from seed to sale. Which means, we inspect the farms, research each farm’s growing and curing techniques from the soil to the final trim and packaging process. Every step in the seed to sale process matters to us. We test each product before we buy it to ensure the best quality. Then, as each order comes in, we inspect every single package to make sure that our customers will get the top quality they expect from Mary Jane’s. Does it take more time? Of course. But we believe our customers are worth it.

“The Happy Hills Strawberry I got at Mary Jane’s is the best Strawberry I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried every Strawberry strain known to man!”

  • Matt, Vancouver

What does this mean for you? It means, when you walk into Mary Jane’s House of Grass, you can expect every cannabis item in the store to meet our exacting standards. You can feel comfortable knowing that we’ve questioned our growers on pesticide use, fertilizer use, extraction methods, and other proprietary grow information.  At Mary Jane’s you can feel confident in knowing you’ll get the best quality bud. We want you to feel safe knowing where your cannabis comes from. After all, you intend to put it in your body, and we take that pretty seriously.

 

The New Symbol of Recreational Marijuana

web_symbolofrecSome years ago the world of medical marijuana adopted a green cross as their universal symbol. It was a great way to easily spot a dispensary. A large green cross, like the ever-familiar and welcoming Red Cross we all know, but green. It made it easy to advertise as well as easy to recognize. It has since become the beacon to MMJ users.

With recreational marijuana being a bold new frontier, it lacks a universal symbol to beckon to recreational users. We simply haven’t had the time in the marketplace yet to build that recognition. Recreational cannabis needs a symbol, similar to the cross, simple in design and easy to spot at a quick glance. Oh, and it needs to be green.

In Washington State, medical will soon merge with recreational with the passing of House Bill 5052 in 2015. That adds to the urgency of the need for a new symbol, because as a recreational retail establishment, we’re still not allowed by law to use the cross. That may change, but we don’t know.

In the limiting world of I-502 signage, we have to get creative. So here is the symbol that could help our new Washington I-502 stores combat that problem. It’s the green asterisk (*). Simple. Bold. Easy to spot from the road as you’re searching for the new pot shop in your area.

So keep an eye out for this symbol. It will lead you to good things.