Next Steps on Deciding on Out-of-State Cannabis Owners in Washington

February 18, 2017

Out-of-State Owners in Washington

Is it true that Washington state produces more cannabis than is bought and sold by our consumers? Well, that is what Eric Gaston, a local retailer, says to justify his opposition to allowing out-of-state investors into our local market. The polarizing argument has been at the forefront of conversation for quite some time, and that could be because its supporters and opposers are not only considering big business vs. small business but are also accounting for how this change in legislation may warrant unwanted attention at the federal level.

A Common Factor in Both Sides of the Argument

Despite which side of the argument we’re looking at, both denote ‘growth’ as their primary factor for supporting or opposing the matter. At which point does this commonality divert? Are we helping the big guy or the little guy? Some would argue that it would support both, but then you have Ian Eisenberg of Uncle Ike’s quoted saying,

I could see 10 to 20 producers that would crush little growers. It’s just opening the door to factory pot — and I’ve got nothing against factory pot.

Scrutiny from the Federal Government

Aside from the argument of supporting big business or small mom-and-pop shops, many also argue in opposition from the corner of apprehension. If we open up Washington to out-of-state investment, will this warrant unwanted scrutiny from the feds? Logan Bowers, President of the Cannabis Organization of Retail Establishments says,

Business is already over-expanded [in Washington]. We’d make the risk of diversion worse.

Eric Gaston had also said - If we are already producing more supply than demand and take out-of-state investment, the ‘growth’ we’d then see will put us in a deeper hole than we are already in. Does the allure of investment outweigh the danger of diversion?

Despite recently appointed Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, stating that Congress could change the laws on cannabis, the risk of diversion would still put Washington in a vulnerable spot for scrutiny. It will be interesting to see the conversation evolve to take into account the multiple various benefits and consequences and what it could do to our local cannabis market.


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