Shawn DeNae Eddy Wagenseller
Washington Bud Company
Smokey Point, WA
The evenings around here echo with the insistent chorus of croaking frogs while the mornings chirp with returning robins. The daffodils and crocuses are blooming even with night temperatures still near freezing. And Washington’s short legislative session is winding down with only a single cannabis bill passed and only a week left.
It must be spring in the Pacific Northwest.
The other bills the Washington Sun & Craft Growers Association wanted “croaked” early in the session. The cannabis commission, craft cannabis endorsement and social equity bills will all need to be revived next year under fresh filings.
Chirping loudly enough to be heard and passed was the bill to change the term “marijuana” in our state laws and rules to “cannabis.” It’s a step to normalization, and state Senator Karen Keiser suspended Senate rules so it could move to final passage. She explained that cleaning up the language and raising our consciousness about the negative association of the slanderous term is a good step since “cannabis” is more neutral and the accurate name of the plant. This is good, but it will do nothing to help the health and safety of our products or our cannabis licensees working to fill the state’s tax nest.
The most important bill is the one addressing the regulation of synthetic cannabinoids in our market. That bill has walked a peculiar path, dying and reviving a couple of times like our lilies that popped up strong in January, got killed by freezing snow in February and are finding fresh growth in March. Just today, as I write for deadline, we were informed the bill was granted a Saturday morning hearing so my next task is to pen testimony and rally others to help push it past the finish line before frosty opposition kills it again.
The other side of the regulatory fence on which we balance like birds on a wire is the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. The state’s cannabis regulatory agency just implemented mandatory pesticide testing, bringing Washington in line with other states. That’s good. But allowing growers to self-select their test samples is not. The political pressure of passing the flawed rule was as heavy as this spring’s rains from the atmospheric river soaking our region. It could not be avoided.
Running a cannabis company amid all the changes we have seen, and will continue to see, is not a task for the weak of heart. While I work daily to manage our crew, pay the bills, sell the cannabis, develop new products, collaborate with advocate comrades and try to have a personal life, the machine of government oversight controls us like the seasons.
I’m ready for a summer reprieve while we are preparing for a long winter!