Spokannabist is a product of The Spokesman−Review’s marketing division. • Friday, July 29, 2016
WHY EASTERN WASHINGTON HAS GREAT POTENTIAL FOR LOCAL, SUN-GROWN CANNABIS By CRYSTAL OLIVER Special to Spokannabist
It’s not very often that a new industry comes along, and it’s even rarer for a new industry to bring revenue and job opportunities to rural America, but the legal cannabis industry has done just that. In recent history cannabis has primarily been cultivated indoors due to its illegal status and the need to keep growing operations hidden from law enforcement, but legalization has changed this and many licensed cannabis farmers are opting to cultivate cannabis outdoors beneath the sun. Eastern Washington’s climate provides an ideal environment for sun-grown cannabis, allowing individuals in rural Spokane the ability to participate in this rapidly growing industry and earn a living off of their land. The beneﬁts of allowing craft cannabis cultivation and small family farms to ﬂourish in Spokane ﬂow not only to the businesses themselves but also to the community and environment. What’s not often discussed is the trickle-down effect the industry is having too on other small businesses. Many cannabis farmers in Spokane subscribe to a philosophy of buying local. They rely on other small businesses for equipment, materials, supplies and other services. Other industries in Spokane beneﬁting from the cannabis industry include farm and feed supply stores, hardware stores, electricians, plumbers, contractors, printers, packaging companies, accountants, and more. Thus revenues from cannabis sales beneﬁt a number of other business sectors and support job growth outside of the cannabis industry. In addition many of the cannabis farmers who have opted to cultivate their state legal cannabis outdoors are part of what some describe as the “Agrarian Renaissance,” a
growing movement toward chemical free, pesticide free, herbicide free, sustainable land management and farming. While the federal status of marijuana prevents cannabis farmers from being certiﬁed as organic many utilize organic and natural growing methods. There is also a percentage of licensed cannabis farmers in Spokane who are involved in the local food movement and utilize proﬁts from their cannabis cultivation to bankroll their other farming endeavors. There are many environmental beneﬁts to cultivating cannabis outdoors including a reduction in waste and decreased carbon footprint. Sun-grown cannabis requires less electricity, fewer light bulbs, produces fewer greenhouses gases and creates less waste. Cannabis, like most plants and people, thrives outdoors. Cannabis consumers can now make informed decisions about the cannabis they purchase. The options available at the local recreational marijuana store are considerable, so why not ask your friendly budtender for some local, sun-grown, naturally cultivated cannabis the next time you are there? Crystal Oliver co-owns and operates Washington’s Finest Cannabis, a WSLCB licensed outdoor cannabis farm in Spokane County. She also serves as Executive Assistant for Washington NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and is on the Executive Board for the Cannabis Farmers Council. She currently represents cannabis farmers on the Washington State Building Code Council’s Cannabis Issues Technical Advisory Group as well as Spokane Clean Air’s Marijuana Advisory Committee.
If you consider yourself an expert in Washington’s legal marijuana industry and would like to be considered for a future guest column, please email SPOKANNABIST@spokesman.com.
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