Living the Dream: Shawn DeNae

Shawn DeNae

Washington Bud Company

Snohomish, Washington

Growing up, I was taught the Serenity Prayer: “Give me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can’t change and the wisdom to know the difference.” I lean on those words often to invite the universal energy to help guide my reactions through the flood of informational material, data, news, rules, laws and general B.S. that we encounter in the cannabis industry.

Recently, I fielded a call from our testing lab representative informing us that the lab’s owners decided to no longer test cannabis. We voluntarily hire them at $350 per strain to test each crop for pesticides and heavy metals. We are further required to test for quality assurance and cannabinoid levels at $100 per five-pound lot, but it’s that pesticide and heavy metal test that allows us to be Department of Health compliant. All of our packaging has the DOH symbol. The lab rep was giving me a 10-day warning to test all we needed before they shut down to our industry at the end of September.  

Normally, it would not take courage to change labs; however, this is the only lab in the entire state that has both the equipment to test for heavy metals and is certified to touch cannabis. Since we have built our reputation, in part, on being the first flower company to test for heavy metals, I could not accept this news with serenity. I contacted the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board and two other businesses that tested for heavy metals. The last I heard, the Liquor and Cannabis Board was contemplating either lifting the additional certification rules, extending the certification or coming up with some other solution for the extreme few that rely upon that level of testing.

I write this in early October, after the deadline, and no information has yet to be shared on a solution. We are stocked for a few weeks, but our recent harvest has, so far, nowhere to go for DOH testing. Lord, give me strength!

This cycle of “change it or accept it” is ever-present and continually reminds me that I am not in control. There are still multiple issues that are just not acceptable in the new era of cannabis and the courageous among us are working diligently to change them, including IRC 280E, the lack of home-grow protections, required safety testing and restrictions against delivery, consumption lounges and the inability of retail employees to suggest marijuana as curative, therapeutic or a medical option to treat specific ailments. There are many changes needed in Washington state.

As we move toward the 2019 legislative session, we often hear the regurgitated phrase “marijuana fatigue” from the Capitol. Lawmakers won’t get any sympathy from me. In fact, my message to them is to have the wisdom to accept what they cannot change; cannabis is above ground to stay — DEAL WITH IT! They must have the courage to hone the laws and rules, so they are not based upon unfounded fears and misplaced morality, and to have the serenity in knowing the cannabis community is here to play the long game.

In the meantime, anyone out there have the courage to certify another heavy metal testing lab?



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