How Do I Get into the Marijuana Business?

OREGON:  Have you wondered about the recreational marijuana business in Oregon? Though the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Oregon Legislature are still working together to formulate the rules of distribution, The Skanner News has compiled some of the key things to know about getting into the industry.

How can I sell marijuana?

There are currently four types of licenses one can attain in order to legally sale marijuana: producer, processor, wholesaler and retail.

You can acquire as many of the four licenses through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.


Yes, Pot Should Be Legal. But It Shouldn’t Be Sold For A Profit.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  This week, lobbyists and entrepreneurs from the emerging legal cannabis sector descended on the D.C. area to pitch marijuana as “the next great American industry” to policymakers and investors alike. Treating canna-businesses like other entrepreneurial pursuits is largely what Colorado and Washington State have done with their recreational cannabis programs, achieving safe and legal access for users while creating generous sources of new tax revenue by empowering for-profit businesses to lead the industry.

While visiting advocates will tout the legal and financial accomplishments of these policies, not everything in the legal marijuana economy is rosy — racial bias in industry leadership and ecologically wasteful farming methods foretell the future pitfalls of selling pot for a profit.

Cannabis proponents and media outlets frequently reduce the question of legalization to a theoretical choice between the economic gains conferred by commercial cannabis versus maintaining an ineffective and costly prohibition. While this is a simple way to sell legalization, it omits meaningful consideration of other important social concerns and how they intersect with a legal cannabis trade. Classifying cannabis as a for-profit enterprise does not adequately protect social interests of economic opportunity, environmental sustainability and public health. Lawmakers now have a crucial opportunity during legal marijuana’s infancy to prevent foreseeable problems by creating legal space for nonprofit alternatives.


Union Groups Say OK To Marijuana Legalization

OHIO:  The three largest Ohio branches of the union representing nearly 70,000 retail workers, endorsed Wednesday the ResponsibleOhio initiative to legalize marijuana.

“The executive board of these locals, which are made up of rank-and-file members, made a decision to support this proposal because we want to make sure that we have good jobs in the new legal marijuana industry,” said Laurie Couch, a spokeswoman for United Food and Commercial Workers.

The majority of the local members work in retail stores, Couch said, including Kroger, Meijer and CVS, as well as in food packing and processing.


Marijuana Sales Top $12 Million; New Retailers Added … Still Just One In Seattle


Retail sales of state-licensed weed in Washington topped $12 million by Sept. 8 … and sales keep climbing. The improvement of sales in recreational marijuana here mirrors the steep growth in sales in Colorado, where the recreational market out-sold medical for the first time in July (the latest numbers from that state).

The Cannabist reports: “In July 2014, customers purchased more than $29.7 million in recreational marijuana — up from $24.7 million in June. Medical marijuana patients spent more than $28.9 million on marijuana in July — comparable to June’s $28.6 million in sales.”

In Washington, there are now 55 fully licensed retail outlets with another five approved and waiting on final licensing payments, said Mikhail Carpenter, a spokesman for the Washington State Liquor Control Board. (The stores licensed and published by the LCB are in the gallery above.)

The great mystery is why Seattle still has only one store licensed — Cannabis City. Carpenter said they’re all baffled by that but “they’re just not through the licensing process yet,” he said of Seattle applicants. “For whatever reason they’re just not getting through.”

State records show 388 applications active for Seattle. (… are you trying to get through the system and open a store? Call or email me … contact info below.) And, while the state’s system is very detailed and not a breeze by any stretch to get through (some say illegally difficult), business owners have to do their part, too.

Utilities Struggle To Control Appetites In Energy-Hungry Marijuana Industry

WASHINGTON:  Kurt Nielsen is on a strange assignment, especially for a public employee. As the manager of the Lighting Design Lab, which is a spinoff of Seattle’s power company, he has been tasked with finding energy-efficient lights for the growing of marijuana.

Most of the country’s legal cannabis farming, in Washington and Colorado, is happening indoors and under scorching-hot lights. Washington state has issued licenses for the cultivation of 1.2 million square feet of cannabis “canopy,” as it’s called, since voters approved its production and sale for recreational purposes two years ago.

But neither state has given much thought to where the energy will come from.

Nielsen has been looking for a while now and declared that the efficiency quest is “a wild goose hunt.”

“This has become a major issue with most of the regional utilities, now that we have legalized the recreational use of cannabis in this state. There is a huge new industry that’s popping up, grow operations. They’re getting as much as 200 watts per square foot of lighting power density, which is astronomical,” he said. “How are they going to handle and manage this industry?”

Utilities and energy officials in Washington and Colorado indicate they are deeply worried about serving their new set of energy-intense customers while not running afoul of federal drug laws. The intertwined relationships between state and federal governments mean that acting to lower marijuana’s energy usage could endanger millions of dollars in federal grants or electricity deliveries from federal hydroelectric dams.


The Fast Rise Of Marijuana ‘Schools’

I just want to say one word to you. Just one word: pot.

Yes, it almost harks back to a classic scene in “The Graduate.” A growing number of schools offering courses in all things weed-related are trying to pull young people with the promise of newly created jobs in the booming medical marijuana field.

The Northeastern Institute of Cannabis, in Natick, Mass., will start offering a 12-course program by September. Those who pay $1,500 for the privilege get a “cannabis industry certification.” To enroll, students must either have a high school diploma or a GED.

Founded by marijuana activist Mickey Martin, the school is geared toward people who want to apply for work at a dispensary in one of the more than two dozen states, including New York, that allow medical marijuana.

Still-Divided Washington Readies For Start Of Recreational Marijuana Sales

WASHINGTON: John Larson, a recently retired high school science and math teacher, hopes to be in the first wave of legal recreational marijuana salespeople opening shop here in Washington State this week.

Mr. Larson, 67, who was talked into the venture by his children, said he had never tried marijuana, and, in fact, voted against legalizing it in 2012. But as a business idea — well, that’s different.

“If people were dumb enough to vote it in, I’m all for it,” he said over a cup of coffee near his shop here in southern Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Ore. “There’s a demand, and I have a product.”

After nearly two years of anticipation, excitement and dread by still-divided Washington residents, the first licenses for legal sale of recreational marijuana will be issued Monday, state officials said. Sales are to start about 24 hours later.

Marijuana Shortage Seen Ahead Of Washington State retail pot rollout

WASHINGTON:  His glass pipes are on display and final regulatory hurdles nearly cleared, but the biggest concern for Cannabis City owner James Lathrop as he opens his Seattle pot shop this week is the possibility of running out of mind-altering bud in a matter of hours.

“What do you do when your shelves are empty? Do I just send everybody home? Do we try and stay open? I can’t pay people if we aren’t selling anything,” said Lathrop, who expects to become one of Washington state’s first legal marijuana retailers this week as the state issues licenses.

The state is poised on Monday to become the second after Colorado to allow retail sales of recreational marijuana to adults, under a heavily regulated and taxed system that voters approved in November 2012. Stores could begin operations as early as Tuesday, with up to 20 expected to open statewide.

While Colorado, where regulated retail sales rolled out fairly smoothly in January, is collecting millions of dollars per month in tax revenues, Washington has charted a glacial and more halting path to market.

Guest: It’s Time To Start Child-Proofing Marijuana

By David Sack

In states where medical and recreational cannabis sales are allowed, disquieting new trends and statistics are proving its unique dangers for those most vulnerable to its effects: children.

One such statistic is a spike in calls to poison-control centers. According to the National Poison Data System, calls about accidental ingestion of marijuana in children 9 and younger more than tripled in states that decriminalized marijuana before 2005.

In states that enacted legalization from 2005 to 2011, calls increased nearly 11.5 percent per year. Over the same period in states without decriminalization laws, the call rate stayed the same. In the decriminalized states, such calls were also more likely to result in critical-care admissions. Neurological effects were the most common.

These findings led the study’s authors to recommend warning labels and child-resistant packaging, especially for edible marijuana products that resemble candy.

Get Ready To Buy Legal Marijuana

WASHINGTON: Need joints, blunts or grams? Sales at marijuana stores in Washington could begin Tuesday as early as 8 a.m. in Bellingham and noon in Seattle, at prices that may be lower than anticipated.

The first two-gram package of legal marijuana will be sold in Seattle at noon on Tuesday, says James Lathrop, owner of Cannabis City, which is expected to be the first state-licensed store to open in Seattle.

Call it High Noon in Seattle.

Go to Bellingham and you’ll have a shot at buying a joint, blunt and a gram or three at 8 a.m., said Tom Beckley, owner of Top Shelf Cannabis, also expected to be among the first weed shops to open Tuesday.

Call it, the early bird gets the bud …