The saga continues. It’s like a game of Survivor: Outwit, outlast, outplay. However, this version of Survivor is how to do that and balance between the state law, the local ordinances and the Liquor Control Board rules, all within the confines of budget, location, goals and lifestyle.
We wake up each morning with a basic game plan and often, by night fall, new data has come in to alter that plan, by either a small tweak or a 180-degree turnaround. Take the Snohomish County R5 land-use issue. We bought properly-zoned land thinking we could build some simple agricultural buildings, but the planning department soon announced it would hold us to more expensive commercial codes. So we reduced our building needs to fit the budget, which caused a change of plans with the Liquor Control Board; the county then placed an emergency moratorium but informed us we are “quasi-vested” so we pushed forward to obtain our building permit. Then, on May 6, the county permanently banned our zone. Do we stay in an area that does not want us? In the meantime, the Liquor Control Board has sent out 60-day letters: “Get finally inspected or else…”
So, at this late stage, we are still open to other back-up plans. It is an emotionally-exhausting roller coaster laced with business plan fatigue. (At least we get to eat more than rice and have good ganja to help ease the stress!)
What I have learned during this past year is how vitally imperative it is to have an alliance of cannabis-friendly folks representing at the local levels. We lost the alliance of our main supporter in Snohomish County, council chairman Dave Somers, probably because he felt the righteous NOPE NIMBYs (No Operational Pot Enterprises plus Not In My Back Yarders) would better support him for his bid for county executive. His last-minute vote in favor of the ban blind-sided the R5 Cooperative, which had worked so hard to educate the council over the past eight months.
Even though the majority of Washington voters want legal cannabis sales, the policy makers are not being held accountable to implement the system. The industry has a huge challenge this year to discover how our local representatives feel about cannabis businesses setting up shop in their area. We need to recognize the progressive “friendlies” and help keep them in office while exposing the canna-biased politicians and vote them out! I encourage you to link arms with a pal and start attending your local council’s meetings, then share names of politicians that do not support the cannabis industry through social media, such as the I-502 Google Group for those in Washington. Let’s blind-side a few politicians!
Just like a player on Survivor, I am blessed to have this opportunity to play in the legal weed-making game and I’m in it to win it. Let’s form strong alliances and prove that the cannabis community and supportive businesses have the power to swing votes because none of us hold an immunity idol.