The Northwest Chronicle
The Northwest Chronicle
Providing water-soluble CBD elixirs with a heart BY LESLIE KELLY | firstname.lastname@example.org
Will Kleidon may be a salesman, but inside, he’s really there to help heal others. Kleidon is the CEO and founder of Ojai Energetics, a benefit company which has a line of CBD elixirs that can be added to water and produce a faster result. “To date we are the only company that makes a water soluble, micronized hydrosomes using certified organic ingredients,” said Kleidon. “Our patent-pending process makes the oil encapsulated in a tiny water bubble so it becomes water soluble.” The products, he said, speak to his desire to help people heal using the very best plants available. “Because we believe in your health, we never chemically alter our ingredients,” he said. “Instead we use holistic and certified organic plants and still achieve the best bioavailability on the market.” Cannabidiol, often referred to as CBD, is one of at least 85 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. It is a major phytocannabinoid, accounting for up to 40 percent of the plant’s extract. CBD is considered to have a wider scope of potential medical applications than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). “Often it is used as an anti-inflammatory,” he said. Other uses include immunosuppressive, bone-stimulant, antibacterial and antispasmodic. “The high CBD strains don’t carry the same psychoactive effects of THC. There are effects, but the high CBD strains generally leave users feeling clear, uplifted and usually energetic. “Edibles can take up to 30 minutes to work,” Kleidon said. “But the product we make will work within minutes.” Kleidon was born and raised in Menlo Park, California. As a young child, his passion and intuition for using plants to heal Continued on Page 12
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12 The Northwest Chronicle “CBD elixirs“ Continued from Page 6
people was seeded. He loved plants, and plants loved him. When a friend fell off the monkey bars at preschool, he said he grabbed a plant and rubbed it on his friend’s arm. “It eased the rash, and my friend stopped crying,” he said. At 16, he began to study patterns in nature and was determined to help “humanity walk a path toward harmonious living with all of life.” He put together a sustainability festival at 17 with more than 25 organizations. He moved to Australia to study permaculture, apprenticing with one of the world’s leading experts, Robyn Francis, at Permaculture College Australia. Permaculture is a design science that studies nature’s patterns and builds systems in harmony with them to sustainably produce maximum abundance with minimum input. He realized that all humans could live in abundance with health as wealth, using proper innovations and returning to their roots and culture, in balance with nature. He was then guided to Ojai, where he and his partner, Caroline, found a plot of land to care for. They have planted 100-plus Continued on Page 17
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“CBD elixirs“ Continued from Page 12
trees and are organically building back the topsoil. They are also making plans for workshops on permaculture and holistic health. “We exist to be a catalyst for good,” he said of his company. “With our non-negotiable, triple bottom line putting people and the planet before profits while being fiscally successful, we are being the change we want to see in the world.” He said the company strives to run with these values, exemplified by “running our servers with wind energy, and ensuring access to health products for those who cannot afford them.” “We work to build relationships with the farmers who grow the ingredients we use, ensuring fair trade wages, and only supporting regenerative farming practices,” he said. “We will always ensure from seed to planting to the final products in your hands that we have made the world a better place without cutting corners. We are always working to improve the standards for all the communities we touch.” The product is $75 for one ounce which lasts most users about a month, using one drop a day. The product can be mailed throughout the country and more can be found at www.ojaienergetics.com. “Olympic gold medalists have used our product,” he said. “And it was included in the swag bags given out at this year’s Oscars.”
18 The Northwest Chronicle
Marijuana tax reduction proposal goes nowhere in legislative session BY LAVENDRICK SMITH | WNPA Olympia News Bureau
OLYMPIA—In the state’s battle to eliminate the illegal sale of marijuana, one lawmaker’s proposal to reduce the tax of legal recreational marijuana will have to wait.
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House Bill 2347 would have reduced the excise tax on marijuana sales from 37 to 25 percent, in an effort to help make prices more competitive with their black-market counterparts, said the bill’s primary sponsor Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw. Hurst and proponents of the bill say a reduced tax would be one of the most important ways of eliminating the black-market sales of marijuana, which Hurst said still makes up 65 to 75 percent of sales in the state. “We can’t get there if we price ourselves so much higher than the illicit market,” he said. “The criminals love the tax rate being high, because they don’t pay it, and it makes it so the legal people can’t compete with them.” His proposal failed to pass the House Finance Committee by the Legislature’s cutoff point in February. It was reintroduced in the Special Session, but the present taxes were retained. Hurst said the current tax on pot is too high, and punishes licensed retailers who are playing by the rules of Initiative 502, which voters approved in 2012 to allow the production, sale and recreational use of marijuana by adults in Washington. “The voters, when they passed 502, didn’t say that they wanted more people smoking marijuana or people to smoke more marijuana,” Hurst said. “What they said was they wanted a stabilized, Continued on Page 24
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20 The Northwest Chronicle
She’s the one to ask about cannabis law BY LESLIE KELLY | firstname.lastname@example.org
She’s gone from corporate law to cannabis law. And she says she’s much happier now. She is Stefani Quane and she describes herself as “holistic, inventive, pioneering magical law.” Quane was at CannaCon in Seattle Feb. 18 and when asked what the most frequent question she gets is, she replies “How do I make money?” “The answer’s always the same,” Quane said. “You gotta work with me.” Her goal is to work with cannabis entrepreneurs to make sure they have what they need to be successful, including connections to investors. “I’m focused on the little guy,” she said. “Ever since I-502 went in, and recreational cannabis became legal, the large corporations have taken over,” she said. “They can hire lobbyists to make sure that the folks in Olympia write the laws to benefit them. This has only hurt the small producer who’s been growing to support the medical cannabis community for years.” It’s the same thing as happens in Washington D.C where the big banks run Congress, she equated. “It’s up to people like me to see that the little guy who’s growing 45 plants in his basement is protected.” As an effective law, she rates I-502 at a B minus or C plus. Quane calls herself “The LawLady” and she has a juris doctorate
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from the University of Wisconsin. Her specialty was labor law. She worked in the corporate law environment for 20 years, and then she had some life-changing events. “I got divorced,” she said. “I realized I was burned out (at her career).” She took a couple of weeks to consider her next step. “I stayed home and watched ‘Weeds’ and smoked pot,” she said. “I began to see myself in Nancy Botwin. That planted the seed to my journey in cannabis law.” She was living in Idaho at the time, but moved back to Wisconsin and worked in the group that fought against Gov. Scott Walker. She became active in the NORMAL organization and the Occupy movement. Eventually she moved to the Seattle area and in 2012, while attending Hempfest, she spoke with a California lawyer work worked in cannabis law. He convinced her to hang out her shingle. “My work is not about making money for myself,” she said. “My work is about social justice.” And, in fact, she’s working with a small group to begin a home wellness program. Her concept includes sponsors who will open up a bedroom in their home to someone who needs medical marijuana from out of the area, so that that person can take advantage of the cannabis industry in Washington State. “It will be a place where they can refocus and grow stronger, whatever their medical situation is,” she said. “We will offer them a cleanse and a holistic diet of organic and raw foods. And we will make sure that the pot they are buying is the best quality available.” As a retreat, guests will also have the services of the Reverend Sweet Baby Jesus, a founding minister of the 420.com cannabis ministry. As a spiritual minister, Quane said he can tend to the spiritual needs of guests. Sweet Baby Jesus describes his work as non-denominational where all faiths are welcome. “Holy cannabis herb is the sacrament we partake in communion,” he said. “We whole-heartedly believe that this scared plant is divinely given to us as a tool for spiritual enlightenment, to unite the masses in peace and love.” But the ministry also educates on the dangers of abusing the “holy plant” and not to take unhealthy doses. It embraces the arts to channel positive energy. “We motive and support each other and through our actions we inspire world peace,” he said. Both Quane and Sweet Baby Jesus are working on creating websites. In the meantime, contact them at 206-981-1702, the hotline for the ministry, and 206-932-9699 for Quane. Her email is www. email@example.com.
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24 The Northwest Chronicle “Marijuana Tax“ Continued from Page 19
well-regulated market and, fundamentally, you don’t get there if the price is so high that you’re keeping organized crime in business.” The proposal came a year after the Legislature eliminated individual taxes between the chains of producers, processors and retailers, and implemented a one-time tax on the final product at retail. K.C. Franks, owner of Stash, a pot shop in Seattle, said he supports reducing the taxes on marijuana sold in his store. Franks has owned Stash for six months, and said the taxes marijuana retailers have to pay provide unique challenges to them that other businesses in other industries don’t face. “Marijuana businesses need to sell $200,000 or more a month to break even,” Franks said. Franks said cheaper prices could help retailers compete with the illegal industry, which he said has advantages such as having a delivery system for products. Logan Bowers, co-owner of Hashtag, another Seattle marijuana shop, said cheaper prices would draw more customers toward legal marijuana. “This is a crucial step forward,” Bowers said. “It’s really important that we have price parity with the black market.” Some critics worried that reducing the tax would’ve done more harm for the industry and state than good, by leading to a decrease in revenue. The fiscal impact estimate for the bill was a projected loss of $87 million in the upcoming fiscal year, with about $268 million in revenue expected with a 37 percent tax, as opposed to $181 million with a 25 percent tax. “It’s a pretty major hit as the state is trying to figure out how to fully fund education, mental health, and other important public services,” said Nick Federici of the Revenue Coalition, in a hearing on the bill in the House Finance Committee. Hurst and proponents of the bill say the fiscal impact was overblown and didn’t account for the people who would choose to buy legal marijuana because of the cheaper prices. Proponents say customers would rather purchase from stores with competitive prices, where they can feel safer than on the streets and purchase products of higher quality. “The people who’ve been purchasing illegally and not paying any tax are now going to come to a proper place that’s licensed,” Franks said. “What [the state] may lose in the percentage per sale, they’re going to increase revenue by having more people from the black market come into the fair market.”
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30 The Northwest Chronicle
Is cannabis tourism “on the grow”? BY LESLIE KELLY | firstname.lastname@example.org
Is legal cannabis bringing more tourists to Washington? It all depends on who you ask. But there are certainly anecdotal instances. At Seattle’s CannaCon in February, “Bob and his Buddies,” as they wanted to call themselves, came from Los Angeles for the weekend. On the bus from the parking lot to the event, Bob said he and his friends are in the medical field and are hoping to invest in a cannabis production facility once recreational marijuana becomes legal in California later this year. “We’re just here to absorb as much information as we can,” Bob said. “We want to be ahead of the curve when California starts handing out licenses to produce.” They are typical of those who venture from other states and even foreign countries to see what recreational cannabis is like in Washington state. While it’s also legal in Colorado and Oregon, it appears that Washington is as popular as the other states mainly because Washington has lots to offer. A weekend in Seattle means great museums to visit, great places to eat, nice hotels with views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, and even organized tours for pot enthusiasts. Take Bob and his Buddies. They were staying overnight in a downtown hotel for two nights. They flew in on Alaska Airlines. They planned to eat out every meal while they were here, (including hot dogs from the food truck at CannaCon), and they took taxis to get around during the weekend. Once here, when they were told about Kush Tours, they reserved seats for the tour. Kush Tours is the leading bus tour in this area that allows anyone, 21 and older, to explore Seattle from behind the scenes of the cannabis industry. The tour, which is $150 a person, starts at the Boro School of Glass where participants will be glass blowing first-hand at the premiere glass school in the world. Next the tour stops by a licensed garden, Dawg Star Cannabis. Participants will get to see what a marijuana growing and production facility looks like and learn how it operates. Following that, tourists get to see how edibles are made at Evergreen Herbal. And the bus always stops by a retail store so guests can buy what they need. Similar tours are offered by Cannabus and the Weed Bus. Michael Gordon, CEO of Kush Tourism, said since recreational marijuana became legal in Washington, his tourism business has grown. “The tourism industry hasn’t yet acknowledged it,” he said, “but Continued on Page 32
32 The Northwest Chronicle “tourism ‘on the grow’“ Continued from Page 30
recreational cannabis is bringing hundreds of people to Washington annually.” He said people travel from all over the country and from places like Germany, Japan, Europe, Mexico and Canada, to see how it’s working in Washington. “Every one of those people have to find somewhere to stay, like a bed and breakfast or hotel,” Gordon said. “And they all eat at nice restaurants, use our rental cars, buses and taxis. That’s bringing hundreds of dollars into this state.” David Blandford, spokesman for Visit Seattle and the Washington Tourism Alliance, says there isn’t any hard data on cannabis tourism. He said the most recent statistics are for 2014, prior to recreational cannabis being legal. “No cannabis related statistics are available,” Blandfold said. “It’s really hard to know whether it’s had an affect.” That is because when tourists come to Seattle and spend money, no one knows whether they are here because marijuana is legal. Andi Markley, library manager for the Puget Sound Regional Council, agreed. “Tourism has increased, but it’s really hard to find something that connects it to the legalization of marijuana,” she said. Wes Abney, founder and editor of Northwest Leaf, a cannabis publication, said since the legalization of recreational cannabis in Washington, there has been a huge demand for it that continues to grow. He said the most profitable stores in the state are near the borders, in Spokane, Vancouver and Des Moines. “Five of the top 10 retail stores in the state are in places where people come over from Idaho, Canada, and Oregon to buy,” he said. Even though these visitors may not be staying over night, chances are that they’re buying gasoline, getting something to eat and adding to the state’s tax revenue with their cannabis purchases.” And even with recreational marijuana legal in Oregon, the border stores are still top grossing retail outlets, he added. But what he said is taking away from Washington’s cannabis tourism dollars is that the state doesn’t allow cannabis lounges where smoking is permitted. “Until Washington changes the law, those who want that have to go to Colorado or Oregon,” he said. There may not be hard data on cannabis tourism dollars, but there are folks who are eager to help bring people to Washington to enjoy legal recreational cannabis. One such place is The Travel Joint. This online cannabis tourism website claims to be the only travel and leisure site that can connect travelers to the best flights, Continued on Page 33
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“tourism ‘on the grow’“ Continued from Page 32
hotels, retail shops, city tours, events and 420 rentals. They can help anyone plan a cannabis vacation or stay. The company can even connect people to cannabis travel groups who want to travel together — even to Spring Break. It has a free concierge service which allows guests to contact an agent from the website who will help plan the complete cannabis vacation or simply help you choose a-la-cart options to round out your next trip. They will even make restaurant reservations as part of their services. More information is at www.thetraveljoint.com. Another source is TwoTenTwice. It’s a one-stop shop for information regarding marijuana on the web. From the curious consumer to the cannabis enthusiast, it provide accurate, detailed and complete coverage from laws and legislation on a state-by-state basis to retail and dispensary information to how to buy, cook and consume marijuana. They have information on pot-friendly hotels as well as what’s available to see in various areas. And there is a group called the Washington State Cannabis Tourism Association. To date, they don’t offer any statistics on cannabis travel. It’s a loosely-knit group that hopes to promote the legalization of social clubs where pot can be smoked.
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34 The Northwest Chronicle
His mission is to educate BY LESLIE KELLY | email@example.com
To look at Nicholas Dewey, you wouldn’t think of him as someone who knows cannabis front and back, inside and out. He seems much more like a studious, computer nerd. But looks can be deceiving. Dewey, 32, is a retail associate at Paper & Leaf on Bainbridge Island. With a background in hospitality and sales, and having a keen knowledge of marijuana learned during the past 15 years, he’s the perfect person to help cannabis customers find just what they need. “I don’t really use the term “bud tender,”’ Dewey said. “I do a lot more than stand behind the counter and hand out buds to people.” He considers his job at Paper & Leaf a career and is proud of it.
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Dewey’s interest in marijuana and its healing effects began after a number of accidents and surgeries. As a child, he was hit by a car. He suffered a broken femur, and back and neck injuries that eventually resulted in two spinal fusion surgeries. Because he was prescribed prescription pain medication and grew to the point he couldn’t stomach it any lon“A friend told ger, he sought out something else. me I knew so much, He began reading about the meI should go work at a dicinal qualities of cannabis. His incannabis store, ” he said. terest grew into a hobby, of sorts. “I interviewed and was “I have quite a collection of books hired on the spot.” in my library,” he said. “From about age 15, I read everything I could get my hands on at the library and on the Internet. And I bought just about every book I could find.” Even though he was younger than most when he began using marijuana, his parents supported his decision. He calls his father an advocate for medical marijuana. And, six years ago, he got a medical marijuana card. When recreational marijuana became legal, he applied to work at Paper & Leaf. Continued on Page 36
36 The Northwest Chronicle “His mission...’“ Continued from Page 35
“A friend told me I knew so much, I should go work at a cannabis store,” he said. “I interviewed and was hired on the spot.” As a sales associate at Paper & Leaf, Dewey knows and can speak about the inventory — all the inventory, including 180 strains of flowering cannabis, 108 pre-roils, 50 edibles and 20 topical products. He self-educates and said the team of associates try new strains and have a Facebook review page that they share. “It’s a way for us to have first-hand knowledge of what we’re selling, without each of us having to try each strain,” he said. “And some of us like different things.” For example, he is a berry and citrus limonene cannabis which produces an elevated mood, yet a calming sensation. When a customer comes in the shop, he’s ready to answer any question. He likes to help educate buyers about more than just THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). “That’s what most people focus on,” he said. “But there’s so much more. You need to know CBDs (Cannabidiol), and the cannabinoid spectrum.” Also important is the terpene, which is the flavor and aroma that mark the sensations received when smoking marijuana. If someone is new to cannabis, Dewey will walk them around the store and explain products, until the customer finds what they need. Recently, he had a customer who couldn’t get around very well, so he moved a chair about the store with them, so the man could sit as he learned. Doing a good job, he said, is a combination of having a keen knowledge of the product and knowing how to handle people. “That’s where a strong retail background comes in,” he said. “Most of my work has been in customer service and I know how to defuse a situation where people are unhappy.” Although there is no set “standards” for what makes a bud tender, he and others attend classes and seminars to keep up on everything. It’s a career he plans to stay in. “I’m excited to be involved in dispelling the myths and misconceptions about marijuana,” he said. “Everyone across the spectrum comes in here. There’s no classifying someone who uses marijuana. The stoners and the pothead aren’t really who comes in here. This is a very classy place.” His goal is to take time with each customer and really be able to help them with their selections. “I even study items we don’t carry so I can refer the customer to something similar that we do have,” he said.
38 The Northwest Chronicle
Tribal cannanbis store opens at Suquamish BY RICHARD WALKER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Someday, proponents say, popping a mint into your mouth for a little boost from THC will be looked at no differently than pouring a cup of coffee for a caffeine jolt. Need a little relaxer to help you get to sleep? You might have a hot cup of valerian root tea, cannabis infused, without drawing any more concern than someone enjoying a nightcap before turning in. Agate Dreams, the area’s newest Tribal cannabis retail store, is not only generating new revenue for its parent company, Port Madison Enterprises, it’s changing the way a lot of detractors might look at cannabis. Agate Dreams opened last December at 15915 Highway 305, on the Suquamish Tribe’s reservation. It’s the second cannabis retail store owned by an indigenous nation in Washington; the first, owned by the Squaxin Island Tribe, opened in November. Suquamish and Squaxin signed compacts with the state Liquor and Cannabis Board to take advantage of rules developed by the state and the Department of Justice after Washington voters legalized recreational cannabis use. Agate Dreams charges an excise tax equal to that charged by the state — 37 percent — in accordance with the compact, but like any government the Suquamish Tribe is free to set its own local sales tax rate. (Agate Dreams’ sales tax rate is the same as that in Kitsap County). All tax revenue collected by the Tribe stays with the Tribe to be used for essential government services. The Tribe is using the state/ Justice Department rules for product tracking, security and other measures to keep the industry clean. Forget stereotypes. Reggae music, not Cheech & Chong, plays low on the store’s sound system (actually, Tommy Chong has his own line of smoking accessories). It doesn’t matter if you’re a grayhead, you’re going to be carded (which actually is kind of cool when you’re over 50). The interior walls feature mural-size images of the old Kiana Lodge and of the Agate Pass Bridge under construction in 1950. Employees, called “bud tenders,” answer shoppers’ questions. Manager Calvin Medina, a Suquamish Tribe member, said he and his staff can recommend a cannabis-based product in whatever form and THC content to fit what the customer is looking for. More cannabis products are consumed by means other than smoking. Agate Dreams’ products run the gamut: chocolates, cookies and other edibles; decaffeinated teas and soft drinks (there’s a cannabis-infused hibiscus quencher); and sensual oils. Medina said edibles provide a more relaxed effect; the effects of smoking cannabis are more immediate. Smokable products come with warning labels not unlike those on tobacco products. Port Madison Enterprises CEO Russell Steele, looking natty in top coat and hat, said his research showed that the typical customer is female, age 45-60, and is looking for products for health reasons. At one store he visited during the research phase leading up to Agate Dreams, he was told of a female customer who relies on a canna-
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bis-infused cream to help her overcome insomnia. On opening day, the stream of customers was steady and Steele is already talking about expansion plans; he said Agate Dreams will start packaging and marketing its own brands in the near future. The recreational cannabis market is creating entrepreneurial opportunities. Dan MacDougall of Hansville, owner of the graphic design and branding company Malolo, predicts an emergence of craft producers, not unlike craft brewers, and that within five years half of the cannabis products on the market will come from craft producers. As he eyed the glass-blown water bongs and pipes in the display case — editorializing here, but some pieces are works of art — he’s asked if he foresees the emergence of a new artistic medium as well. His answer: It’s already happening. He also predicts the cannabis industry will help in the development of green technology. Cannabis grown outdoors in sunny Eastern Washington is cheaper to grow and, therefore, is less expensive to consumers than cannabis grown in Western Washington, where it must be grown indoors. Growers are adopting LED lighting and other technologies to help cut energy consumption and reduce costs. (Steele said he visited an indoor grow operation in Tacoma; at 20,000 square feet, it uses 4 percent of all of Tacoma’s electricity.) MacDougall, who is helping to market and brand Agate Dreams, predicts the store — one of only three in an 18-mile area — will thrive. “The location is prime,” he said. “You don’t have to drive off the main drag. It’s right here.”