A big harvest of sun-grown marijuana from eastern Washington last fall flooded the market. Prices are starting to come down in the state’s licensed pot shops, but due to the glut, growers are — surprisingly — struggling to sell their marijuana. Some are already worried about going belly-up, finding it tougher than expected to make a living in legal weed. State data show that licensed growers had harvested 31,000 pounds of bud as of Thursday, but Washington’s relatively few legal pot shops have sold less than one-fifth of that. Many of the state’s marijuana users have stuck with the untaxed or much-lesser-taxed pot they get from black market dealers or unregulated medical dispensaries — limiting how quickly product moves off the shelves of legal stores. So far, there are about 270 licensed growers in Washington — but only about 85 open stores for them to sell to.
The first of 10 investors in an Ohio marijuana cartel proposed by ResponsibleOhio is James Gould, a Cincinnati sports agent, businessman, and member of the board of directors of numerous organizations, including Build-A-Bear Workshop. Gould has represented a number of professional athletes and also serves on board of the Korey Stringer Institute. ResponsibleOhio is pitching a ballot issue in which 10 investors would be allowed to grow and profit from the wholesale marketing of marijuana for personal use in Ohio. The growers would not sell the marijuana; that would be handled by unaffiliated retailers. The proposal includes a provision for legalizing use of medical marijuana. The backers of the marijuana amendment have not released the text of the proposed ballot constitutional amendment, or many details. That could come next way, they say. Critics call the plan “cannabis capitalism” and charge that it is focused entirely on profit by a monopoly controlled by wealthy investors.
Marijuana edibles are blamed for a recent spike in child overdose cases, and now Washington State’s King County health officials are calling for a pot candy crackdown. The effort to bring the unregulated medical marijuana commerce in line with the state’s legal recreational market could result in a ban on many of the products currently sold at dispensaries. The goal is eliminate things that would be “especially appealing to children.” There is no list of such items, but pot-infused cotton candy, gummy bears, lollipops and similar items would likely fall into this category, according to staff at the state Liquor Control Board, which regulates the recreational market. There is also a bill pending in Olympia to eliminate sales of dried, smokable marijuana from medical marijuana dispensaries altogether, limiting dispensary sales to edibles, tincures, and concentrates. Should both measures pass, critics contend patients would be left with nothing but bland, unappealing sources of cannabis medicine.
Legalization of medical marijuana in Kansas is inevitable, Kansas Sen. David Haley told a crowd of about 30 supporters at a rally in the rotunda of the Capitol on Thursday afternoon. Haley, D-Kansas City, and Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, have introduced companion bills in the House and Senate, SB 9 and HB 2011, that would allow medicinal use of marijuana. “We have to get this done,” Haley said. “Everyone in this Capitol knows that one day, one day, medical marijuana will be available in every one of the 50 states. We know that. The question is … will Kansas be the 24th state or the 50th?” Finney said legalizing medical marijuana and taxing it would generate an additional $1.3 million in revenue for the state. They have at least one Republican lawmaker on board. Rep. J. Basil Dannebohm, R-Ellinwood, spoke in favor of the legislation at the rally.
Arizona’s more than 63,000 medical marijuana patients ate, drank or smoked more than 10 tons of the drug last year. It comes out, on average, to the equivalent of one joint per patient per day, though clearly some are using more and some are using less. And figuring an estimated price of $350 an ounce, that means Arizonans spent about $112 million on marijuana. A new report Thursday from the Arizona Department of Health Services also finds 85 dispensaries were up and running last year; More than two thirds of qualifying patients are male; The average patient made 17 transactions during the year. The new report also shows that one patient actually made 341 trips to a dispensary — close to every day of the year. Five of the state’s dispensaries accounted for 20 percent of the total marijuana sold: 296,001 transactions totaling about 2,400 pounds.