Submitted by: Danielle Rosellison of Trail Blazin’ Productions
Let’s start with the stats. As of today, based on the LCB, in Whatcom County there are:
- 71 cannabis producers and processors
- 25 cannabis retail shops
- $1,009,428 excise tax dollars paid in June for Whatcom County only
- $31,588,469 total excise tax paid from Whatcom County
- $3,737,613 total cannabis consumers purchased in Whatcom County in June 2018
- $1,872,093 total Whatcom producer/processor sales
*Monthly excise tax in Whatcom County
These are great numbers, considering the hurdles and roadblocks that the cannabis industry has faced since, well, since 1937. In an effort to advocate for a vital, ethical and sustainable cannabis industry, here are a few myths I’d like to dispel and you can help!
- All product you buy in retail stores has been tested for pesticides.
This is probably the most common misconception in Washington right now. All cannabis is required to be tested for moisture content, potency, foreign matter, microbiologicals and mycotoxins. Pesticide testing is NOT required for adult use products, making Washington the only state in the lower 48 states to have legalized adult use cannabis and not require pesticide testing. Crazy, right?
The good news is that you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and let the government know your opinion or you can look for product with these logos on them. These logos mean the farm has followed all the Department of Health’s rules and regulations to create medically compliant cannabis. Support these farms as they are going above and beyond to bring you medically compliant product for all consumers. You don’t have to be a patient to purchase “General Use” or “High CBD.”
- Cannabis companies are rolling in dough.
I wish this was true! How cool would that be? Ninety-six new small businesses in Whatcom County “rolling in dough,” flushing our community with coin (Sustainable Connections posted information that local retail businesses put $.58 back into the community compared to national companies who only put $.33 back in to the community). The truth is, like all farmers, local cannabis companies need your support. We are working hard to create living wage jobs, encourage criminal justice reform and literally change the world. Asking for locally grown product (in Whatcom County) is the best way you can support local farms. We need you!
- THC is recreational. CBD is medical.
This is the overly simple explanation that the media uses and, to a degree, the government as well. Let’s start with the fact that there is way more cannabinoids in cannabis than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), to name a few. And all our bodies have an entire endocannabinoid system, like your nervous, cardiovascular or reproductive system, which regulates our bodies’ balance, health and mood. There is still more research that needs to be done, but it’s safe to say cannabinoids, all of them, may be useful when trying to address one’s health and well-being.
- The highest THC will get me the highest.
If only it were that easy, that the numbers on the back of the package equal the degree of high obtained. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Cannabis is arguably one of the most complex plants on Earth. Like all plant-based medicine, it is how all the elements work together that create the desired effect. Isolating one aspect of the plant and saying, “this is what gets me high,” is a very pharmaceutical approach.
There are all sorts of cannabinoids, terpenes and pesticides (or lack thereof) that affect how you’ll feel after engaging with cannabis and then there is how those variables work with your body. Everyone is different. Furthermore, the labs in Washington are not yet standardized, so different labs may provide different results. Starting with, “this is the kind of high I want,” and then practicing trial and error with different strains and different farms is the only way you’ll find what’s just right for you.
- Weed is legal!
Yes, we can buy adult use and medical cannabis in a store, just like we can buy supplements, but that doesn’t mean it is legal. Can we grow it at home? Can we trade it? Have people with prior cannabis convictions had their records expunged? Can we consume it in public without fear of persecution?
Cannabis in Washington is highly regulated, due to its federal illegality and the last seventy years of history. We have come a long way, but there is still so far that we need to go! If you enjoy the freedom that you have, then I encourage you to get involved and help us continue to move the ball forward. There is plenty to do and only with all hands on deck, will we advance a vital, ethical and sustainable cannabis industry. Initiative 502 was just the beginning of legalization. Please join The Cannabis Alliance in continuing to move the ball forward!