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Merging of marijuana markets gets mixed reviews

One year into the merged medical and recreational marijuana market, the reviews are mixed.
State officials say the new medical system has been a positive step. Store owners say the new setup hasn’t been effective.
But everyone agrees on one thing: Far more people are using marijuana medicinally than the 24,000 people statewide who have registered under the new law.
“The patients that are using it for medical reasons aren’t seeing a savings enough to substantiate doing what the state wants them to do,” said Loren Carlson, owner of Cannabis Country Store in Battle Ground. “The state’s not giving the medical patients enough of a break.”
The goal of the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (Senate Bill 5052) was to bring medical and recreational marijuana producers, processors and retail stores together under the regulation of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.
The new law, which went into effect July 1, 2016, aligned the largely unregulated medical market with the recreationa..

Women & Weed: Why Representation Matters

The first time I smoked weed was probably in the 8th grade. After persistent begging, my older sister and her friend caved in and gave me my first few puffs. High School is when I became a regular toker, and I became used to being one of the very few chicks in the circle. Sure, I knew a handful of other girls who smoked, but we all ran in different crowds mostly smoked with groups of guys.
It wasn’t until my mid-20’s that I finally met more women like me: women who loved weed and used it for more than just the obvious recreational and psychoactive benefits. But again it was just a small group of us who met regularly to partake in the sacrament. It was nice not having to smoke alone or strictly with dudes. I don’t speak to those ladies anymore, but we had some good times and it was nice to have that bond.
Weed has always had a negative social stigma, and people who smoked or associated with smokers were always perceived as lazy burnouts. Women are always judged more harshly than men, ..

Many pot firms strapped with cash

LOS ANGELES — Slip a fresh $20 bill under the bulletproof teller window of Donnie Anderson’s Medex marijuana dispensary — perhaps for a gram of cannabis or some THC-infused toffees — and the legal tender is transformed into something else: drug money.
Though the transaction is legal in California, under federal law that bill is not much different from the contents of a drug cartel’s safe — cash that most banks won’t touch.
So how is Anderson supposed to pay his employees, suppliers or business taxes? He deposits cash, in drips and drabs, into an account held by a limited liability company that his bank thinks is a property management firm.
“The bank doesn’t know what we do,” he said.
If this sounds like money laundering, you’re not far off.
Yet consider this: That same $20 exchanged at Canndescent, another cannabis company, takes a direct and transparent route into the financial system.
When the marijuana cultivator sells its product to a dispensary, one armored car drops off the..

Report: Wages growing in state’s marijuana industry

Wages and jobs in the legal marijuana industry may be on the rise in Clark County and across the state.
A new, 28-page report from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy examined employment and wage data for businesses with marijuana licenses in the state of Washington and found growth in wages and number of workers.
From 2014 to 2016, licensed marijuana businesses reported employing an equivalent of 6,049 full-time employees statewide and paying $286.1 million in wages, adjusted for inflation.
For Clark County, the study reported that an equivalent of 222 full-time workers were paid $1.9 million at the end of 2016, earning an average hourly wage of $16.58 and a median hourly wage of $13.01.
Statewide, the average hourly wage was $16.42 and the median hourly wage was $13.42.
One big caveat of the study, said co-author Bethanne Barnes, was that it did not look at the marijuana industry in a vacuum. Researchers cross-referenced marijuana licenses from the state Liquor and ..