Trail Blazin’ Productions
Every farmer I’ve talked to lately is cautiously optimistic. It’s like we’ve weathered the proverbial five years and there is a brief reprieve in the endless stormfronts that have battered our ships. We’ve had momentary breathers before, but not like this. Usually you can just barely see the light at the end of the tunnel, you take a deep breath, and it all goes pitch black again. But this time … this time … maybe this time … is different.
Whether you’re a sungrown farmer or not (Trail Blazin’ is 100% indoor LEDs) and whether you’re a legal, licensed farmer or not, the sungrown harvest impacts business. Normally, thousands of pounds flood the Washington market, causing prices to plummet and tying up much of the fought-for retail capital. It’s brutal every year. When I say “brutal” I mean a “30%-decrease-in-revenue” brutal.
But we haven’t seen the same economic forces at work. Many sungrown farmers didn’t plant due to theoretical oversupply issues the last several years. Additionally, I’ve heard weather conditions were less than optimal this year. It appears we have a shortage of product in the Washington market, giving surviving farmers the upper hand for the first time since 2015.
The farmers that held to their pricing and weren’t bullied by unscrupulous businesses driving cannabis to pennies on the dollar are in the driver’s seat. I spoke with an “organic” sungrown farm here in Whatcom County; they are increasing their prices by 25%. I spoke to a sungrown farm in an area that didn’t see the same weather conditions as the rest of the state; they were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to fill all their orders.
Trail Blazin’ gets calls daily looking for extraction or wholesale material. Sorry, we don’t have any. Fliers in retail shops state that the biggest cannabis cultivators in Washington are increasing their prices, leading the way for the rest of us to follow suit.
For investors, the mom-and-pop farms that are still surviving in Washington are probably one of the safest investments on the market. We have made it through five years, in a state with the most conservative, backwards, difficult regulation of any legalized state. We are all branded, because you can’t make it in Washington without a brand (probably the best thing to come out of a lack of vertical integration). And most of us have done it on a shoestring budget, using our knowledge of cannabis and pure tenacity to keep going.
Without singling anyone out, do a quick Google search of cannabis stocks and see how cannabis companies that have raised hundreds of millions — and for some, billions — of dollars are currently fairing. Many people get careless with large amounts of capital; you can always add another zero and thus spending can be frivolous. But the Washington cottage industry? We count every penny. We get creative when it comes to finding a solution to a problem. We are masters at adapting to market conditions outside of our control.
To all the other mom-and-pop farmers in Washington who have been going at this since 2015 and are still alive, I’m rooting for you. What we have done — the obstacles and hurdles that we have faced head-on and survived — is the story epic movies are made from (good thing I kept a journal … I always said it would make a helluva movie some day!). Our time is coming, and we are better positioned than 90% of the cannabis companies out there.