Washington Bud Company
Smokey Point, WA
The assumption from people outside the cannabis industry is that we are making the “Big Bucks” but are likely not too savvy, meaning we are easy pickings for exploitation. This attitude crept up on us again last year when we were approached by Mr. King, the owner of the 20-acre parcel to our south. He wants to develop the land and put four houses on it, but land use codes no longer allow for new wells to be drilled and he needs water to proceed.
In the early 1990s, our rural area an hour north of Seattle was slated for a massive golf course community, but the work progressed only as far as putting in the water reservoir before it was halted. This privately owned Tatoosh Tatoosh Water Company reservoir was designed to serve thousands of homes and two 18-hole golf courses with water fresh out of the Cascades. A local businessman, who owns the 50-acre parcel across the street from us, brought the Tatoosh water line down to serve his multi-home property years ago — and there it ended just feet from our property line.
We have two grandfathered wells on our property and when those run low, we supplement with two 2,500-gallon tanks, so when Mr. King approached us with a $92,000 estimate to be part of the extension of the water line, we basically told him to go fly a kite. A couple months later, he brought us a new proposal for $67,000, explaining that the cost was based on frontage, no matter how many houses are served on each parcel. So we would both pay the same costs for installing the main line, even though our parcel serves one home and his would serve four. Thanks, but no thanks, we said.
The line was dug in the autumn of 2019. Over the winter, we discovered that the work had clogged our drainage ditch, causing a huge sink hole that collected mosquitos by spring. I began calling all the usual suspects to get our ditch cleaned out. King, Tatoosh and the contractor all refused responsibility, so I called the engineer that was involved.
During that conversation, I learned about the cost of adding “latecomers” to the water line. I called Tatoosh and the secretary quickly emailed me the cost to tap in: $15,436.92. Piped-in water was suddenly within reach!
We sent in the check, they scheduled the tap and we contracted a plumber to bring the line to our pump house. Within seven weeks of discovering the latecomers fee, we had another water supply to our property. And the newly sourced water is so clean! The well always leaves sediment and we never drank it, instead buying bottled water for consumption. We now have the option to use any one of three water sources to supply the grow and the house, and we did not have to help fund the entire project as initially presented.
I believe in conscious serendipity. There have been too many times that had a question not been asked, or a document not been read, or a connection not been made, that our success would be less than it is now. We have learned that no matter the bubble of relative safety we feel as legal cannabis growers, there are continuous forces that are against our industry. There are those that creep up from both obvious and unexpected corners.
Keep sharp, keep asking questions and keep showing your savvy self. Be unexploitable!
Take that, Mr. King.