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Low Prices Are Threatening the Future of Spokane’s Marijuana Farmers


Wholesale prices on marijuana have significantly dropped in Washington State. Some cultivators are banding together to challenge new cultivation regulations being handed down from the Spokane County Clean Air Agency. The new regulations will require licensed cultivators to pay a registration fee of up to $5,000.

The registration fee will be determined based upon the method of cultivation used, The Spokesman-Review reports. Pollution regulators also have to be given a harvest schedule. The county has a nuisance odor law in place, and all cultivators must maintain compliance throughout the cultivation process.

Cannabis Farmers Council member Crystal Oliver said, “Most Spokane County farmers will not be able to financially support these proposed fees. The fees will lead to loss of jobs in the cannabis industry, closure of farms and loss of farmers’ livelihoods.”

It isn’t known how many farmers are actually cultivating currently as once a license is issued, it stays in place. Cultivators aren’t necessarily actively growing a crop but the license can remain active regardless.

Gene Flynn of the Cannabis Farmers Council said, “It is hard to put a finger on, because you have the license and that essentially never goes away.”

The county commissioner, Al French, oversees the rules for the county’s cultivators. He is sympathetic of the difficulties that cultivators face.

French said, “My first duty is to protect the constitutional right of the residents within this county, and that is the right of quiet enjoyment of their property. And when that right is violated, I have a duty to protect them.”

Some residents have complained about excessive marijuana odor coming from some farms. Many have made massive improvements to their cultivation facilities to combat the odor and contain it.

Chris Marr, a former state legislator, commends the cultivators for banding together to address the difficulties they prepare to face.

Marr said, “My hat’s off to them. It doesn’t solve the underlying problem of it still being illegal on a federal level. It’s still being associated with reefer madness. I think it may address concerns of rational elected leaders, who say I need to solve a tangible problem. It won’t remove this bias and desire of a lot of neighbors not to live near a legal grow.”

Cultivation business owners are a little worried about the new “odor registration system” but not all think it will pull their businesses under. Cuts may have to be made regarding employee numbers to make up for the added expenses.