Since the discussion regarding growing marijuana in San Juan County is complicated and multi-faceted, I would like to start a conversation with one concern at this time.
I would like to make a case for considering cannabis as an agricultural crop. Let’s compare apples to apple (cider), so to speak.
Question: Can you think of a plant that is now legal to be grown, processed and sold in San Juan County in a form that can get you high and is regulated by the Liquor Control Board?
Apples, hops, grapes, berries, barley, potatoes, cherries, etc. are all well established as agricultural crops. Along with cannabis they are all processed to make recreationally intoxicating products for grown-ups. Our local distilleries and wineries are praised in the press. Marijuana has the same potential as an apple or a grape.
Distilling is an agricultural practice RCW 66.24.145 (5).
While cannabis and alcohol both intoxicate, the LCB does not require the same level of security for distilleries or wineries as the newer cannabis operations. Perhaps the centuries have already shown that intoxicants are not going to destroy the moral fabric of our society. Perhaps we still need to learn that it is prohibition that leads to black markets and increased crime.
These are my thoughts, offered to the community to start the conversation. Hopefully a county-wide polite discussion will help set standards we can all live with. Farmers should be involved, since regulations could affect growing practices of many other legal crops.