Tag: Washington

One Strain Five Ways: Sour Diesel in Washington

Washington’s endless opportunities for outdoor recreation make for a state that loves a good high-energy sativa like Sour Diesel. Below, meet a classic Sour Diesel flower, a live resin that mixes Sour D with strains of similarly sour flavor profiles, two case studies of different ways to cross Sour Diesel with OG Kush, and the coolest Sour Diesel tee around.

Note: Prices may vary by retailer.

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(Courtesy of Pioneer Nuggets)

This classic Sour D is grown in Arlington, Washington, and exhibits a tangy, diesel-forward mix of aromas and flavors from the first hit to the last. The high is fast-acting, creating a dreamy headspace that nevertheless allows for plenty of productivity.

Price: $15/gram

Notes: Indoor-grown in batches of 60 plants at a time; hand-trimmed and -processed.

When to use it: Hand-rolled and shared with your best bud.

(Courtesy of From The Soil)

From the Soil frequently selects the mix of strains used to craft their live resins based on flavor profile—that’s why the 206 Sour Mix is so incredibly tasty. Derived from flower as well as sugar leaves, the mix incorporates genetics including Sour Diesel, Sour Kush, Sour Juice, Loud Sour Headband, Sour Urkle, Sour Chem Scout, and more.

Price: $50

Notes: Flower used is grown in “living soil.”

When to use it: Pairing vaporizer hits with something sweet to sip.

(Courtesy of Royal Tree Gardens)

When you cross Sour Diesel with one of the most popular hybrids worldwide, you’re guaranteed to get something good. Sour D meets OG Kush in this hybrid strain originally bred by DNA Genetics: The flower is orangey in color with flecks of purple here and there, and the high is uplifting yet deeply relaxing.

Price: $16

Notes: Grown indoors in Tacoma, Washington.

When to use it: To make cleaning your house more fun.

(Courtesy of Artizen)

In another take on mixing Sour Diesel with OG Kush, Lacey, Washington-based Artizen offers this sativa-leaning hybrid that tends toward a happier, more euphoric high than the cross above. Flavors of zesty lemon and lime meet pine and that classic diesel for a thick, pungent smoke or vapor.

Price: $12

Notes: Artizen also took home top honors in our Blue Dream critics’ picks competition.

When to use it: In a desktop vaporizer at low temp to capture its unique flavor.

(Courtesy of Leafly)

Designed in Washington by your favorite Seattle-based cannabis company, this strain tee depicts blue skies and palm trees in a nod to the bright, breezy high that stems from good Sour Diesel.

Price: $30

Notes: Yours truly is also a proud owner of this tee.

When to use it: To make your Sour Diesel-loving friends jealous.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

On Legalization’s 5th Anniversary, Here’s What We’ve Learned.

Monday, November 6, 2017, marks the five-year anniversary of the glorious back day in 2012 when Colorado and Washington voted to become the first two US states to legalize recreational cannabis.

‘We have not experienced any significant issues as a result of legalization.’

Dr. Larry Wolk, Head of Colorado’s Department of Public Health

Since then, the data generated by those two states have refuted pretty much every dire fear that the nation’s drug warriors predicted would come to pass. Legalizing and regulating cannabis has made for a safer and more just society, while ushering in the beginning of the end of a costly, massively corrupt, and wholly counterproductive war on a largely beneficial plant.

Perhaps the most definitive conclusion to the great “legalization experiment” was given recently by Dr. Larry Wolk, head of Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment. When asked by CBC Radio what he’s seen in the five years adult-use cannabis has been legal, Wolk said:

“The short answer is we have not seen much. We have not experienced any significant issues as a result of legalization. I think a lot of people think when you legalize you are going from zero to some high-use number, but they forget that even when marijuana is not legal, one in four adults and one in five kids are probably using on a somewhat regular basis. What we’ve found since legalization is that those numbers haven’t really changed.”

So as we celebrate the five-year mark, let’s address the most important sets of evidence that Colorado and Washington have given us.

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No rise in underage use

According to figures from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in 2015, 21 percent of Colorado youths reported having used marijuana in the past 30 days.

Teen use in Colorado has fallen 4% since 2009. Nationally, it’s at a 20-year low.

That’s less than the national average and less than the 25 percent reported in 2009.

Meanwhile, a 2016 study from the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey found that rates of cannabis use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders haven’t changed significantly in the last ten years.

Even nationally, according to the federal National Survey on Drug Use and Health, teen marijuana use is at a 20 year low.

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Arrests Are Way Down*

According to an analysis by the Drug Policy Alliance, arrests in Colorado for cannabis possession, cultivation and distribution of marijuana plummeted 95 percent after the state legalized recreational sales.

Arrests in both states fell by 95% to 98%. But troubling racial disparities remain.

The asterisk comes into play when you dig into the numbers and see that marijuana arrest rates for black citizens in Colorado remain 2.4 times higher than for whites (despite using cannabis at roughly the same rate). Even more alarmingly, according to NPR, in the first two years after legalization in Colorado “the marijuana arrest rate for white 10- to-17-year-olds fell by nearly 10 percent… while arrest rates for Latino and black youths respectively rose more than 20 percent and more than 50 percent.”

According to the ACLU, marijuana possession cases in Washington fell 98% the year after legalization, but racial disparities remain strong there as well.

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Traffic Fatalities Did Not Increase

Opponents of legalization often point to misleading statistics showing a rise in “marijuana-related” traffic accidents, but as I noted in a comprehensive primer on drugged driving for Leafly, the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Task Force—a federally funded law enforcement organization dedicated to suppressing illegal drugs—admitted in a 2015 report that the term “marijuana-related” does not “necessarily prove that marijuana was the cause of the incident,” and applies “any time marijuana shows up in the toxicology report [of drivers]. It could be marijuana only or marijuana with other drugs and/or alcohol.” It also could mean cannabis use that took place days or weeks before the accident.

Meanwhile, a comprehensive study published this June in the American Journal of Public Health found that “three years after recreational marijuana legalization, changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were not statistically different from those in similar states without recreational marijuana legalization.”

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Violent Crime Didn’t Rise

Just this past February, US Attorney General and longtime cannabis-foe Jeff Sessions tried to claim there’s a link between legalizing cannabis and increased crime.

Violent crime fell in both states after cannabis legalization.

We’re seeing real violence around [marijuana legalization].” Sessions said in a meeting with reporters. “Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved.”

Well, if unnamed “experts” are telling you, that’s pretty solid, right? Seems strange though, that taking cannabis sales out of the criminal black market and moving them into a legal regulated industry would create crime. Fortunately, the Drug Policy Alliance ran the numbers, and found that in the year after recreational cannabis sales started, Denver saw a 2.2 percent drop in violent crime, and overall property crime dropped by 8.9 percent. Meanwhile in Washington, violent crime fell 10 percent from 2011 to 2014.

Opioid Use Went Down

Just last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (more on him here), in his role as chair of President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, actually tried to blame the opioid epidemic’s staggering toll of death and addiction on cannabis.

Opioid-related deaths fell 6% in the two years after Colorado legalization.

Marijuana legalization will lead to more drug use, not less drug use,” Christie said. “[Legalization] will lead to more death not less death, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has proven it.”

That is not true.

In fact, this May, NIDA added language to its website affirming that access to legal cannabis is associated with “lower levels of opioid prescribing, lower self-report of nonmedical prescription opioid use, lower treatment admissions for prescription opioid use disorders, and reduction in prescription opioid overdose deaths.”

A separate study that looked into Colorado showed that legalization led to a “reversal” of fatal opioid overdoses, with 2014—the first year of legal adult use cannabis sales—marking the first time overdose deaths decreased since at least 2000, when they began to rapidly rise.

After Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis sale and use, opioid-related deaths decreased more than 6% in the following 2 years,” concluded the study, which was published earlier this month in the American Journal of Public Health.

Cannabis Tax Revenue Improved Society

Colorado voted to legalize recreational cannabis in November 2012, but the state’s first legal sales didn’t take place until New Year’s Day 2014. Since then, according to data analyzed by Denver-based VS Strategies, the state has collected more than $500 million in cannabis revenue (a figure that includes taxes on both medical and recreational cannabis, though the vast majority is recreational). In Washington, where the retail tax rate is 37%, the state’s total tax obligation for fiscal year 2016 is $185 million and according to a new report from New Frontier Data is expected to increase 25% to $233 million for fiscal year 2017.

More than $1 billion has been taken off the illicit market and used to build schools and bolster drug education programs.

Taxes get a bad rap, because we tend to think of paying them rather than what they pay for, but already in two relatively small states we’ve seen well over $1 billion that previously went into the illicit market now going towards public education and other popular programs.

Recent research by Leafly found that more than 149,000 full-time jobs are currently supported by cannabis legalization. New Frontier estimates that by 2020 cannabis will create more jobs than manufacturing in the United States. And the industry’s unprecedented growth shows no signs of slowing down.

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“About a year into this job, I’ve finally accepted how explosive growth is in this industry,” Tom Adams, Editor-in-Chief of Arcview Market Research, tells me. “And the detonator on that explosion has been adult use legalization, which takes an often very limited medical marijuana market in a state and opens the doors of the stores to everybody. When that happens, the legal operators really start gobbling up market share that used to belong to the illicit trade, which makes for growth rates not to be found anywhere else that I’m aware of—including the internet boom at its height.”

Specifically, Adams points to a “compound annual growth rate” in Colorado and Washington in the three years immediately following adult use legalization of over 50%—a rate of expansion he says, that “just does not happen” in other industries.

Those Arcview numbers don’t include the economic benefits of a sustained boom in ancillary businesses like real estate, legal services, accounting, and security, or the government’s vast savings on enforcement, prosecution and incarceration. Not to mention all the people who didn’t lose their jobs, get kicked out of school, or otherwise have their lives and finances disrupted over a cannabis arrest.

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Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

On the retail end, one of the most pronounced changes seen since the onset of legal adult use sales has been a marked shift away from sales of dried cannabis bud (flower) and into products like edibles, tinctures, concentrates, and topicals. It takes time for consumers to discover and adopt these products, but they have each steadily created their own thriving market segments while eating into the overall percentage of sales that goes to flower.

Flower purchases have slowed as consumers discover a vast array of new products and choices.

In its annual report, The State of Legal Marijuana Markets – 5th Edition, Arcview Market Research reports that “on average, while the whole market in [Colorado, Washington, and Oregon] grew 47% in 2016, the pre-roll category grew by 121%. Growing more slowly, although notably more rapidly than flower, were the concentrates and edibles categories, which increased by 75% and 53% respectively… compared with growth of just 31% for dried flowers.”

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Some of this disparity can be attributed to reductions in the price of flower, but the data also reflect a distinct change in preference towards other means of consumption. By the end of 2016, sales of dried flower made up just 55% of the product mix by dollar sales in Colorado and 59% in Washington.

Arcview attributes this in part to the fact that while high quality cannabis flower remains readily available on the illicit market, concentrates, edibles, topicals, tinctures and other alternatives can’t easily be found outside the regulated market.

“Legalization has ushered in the age of the tested, packaged, and branded cannabis product,” the report concludes. “Customers buying a given product know what they’re getting, know what it contains, and are assured of a mostly consistent experience. That’s causing long-time cannabis smokers to try out and even embrace other forms of consumption, from vaping and edibles to topicals and pills.”

For those of you (and me!) who still love flower, Leafly’s cannabis experts recently compiled this list of 100 Strains to Try Before You Die

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From Dispensary Founder to Mayor?

To get past the numbers, and delve into the human impact of adult use legalization, I’ll give the last word to Kayvan Khalatbari, co-founder of Denver Relief Consulting, 2019 candidate for mayor of Denver, and an industry veteran who started up the state’s second oldest cannabis dispensary in 2009 “with a $4,000 investment and a quarter-pound of cannabis.”

‘The biggest thing I’ve learned in the last five years is that people just aren’t as hard to convince on this topic as I thought they would be.’

Kayvan Khalatbari, Denver dispensary pioneer and mayoral candidate

That was quite an accomplishment. But I’ll always admire him most for his dedicated grassroots cannabis activism, including way back in 2007 when he used to dress in a chicken costume and follow around then Denver mayor (now Colorado governor) John Hickenlooper with a sign that said, ““Hey, Mayor Chickenlooper, What’s So Scary About Marijuana?”

“The biggest thing I’ve learned in the last five years, and even going back further, is that people just aren’t as hard to convince on this topic as I thought they would be.” Khalatbari tells me. “It turns out the opposition to legalization was wide but not deep, and once we started to get data on adult use, and could show politicians and the public that the sky didn’t fall, and revenue went way up, we really started to build momentum, not just in Colorado but nationally as well.”

One interesting byproduct of that has been rapid acceptance of the industry in rural and more traditionally conservative areas that now increasingly see cannabis as an opportunity to bring in jobs and tax revenue. Those regions have begun steadily wooing businesses out of more urban areas, where some residents and regulators have grown wary of the industry’s relentless growth.

Khalatbari worries, however, that as this process of mainstreaming and expansion takes hold, the cannabis industry will move further and further away from its roots as a social justice movement, and become “just about doing business and making a profit.”

Specific areas of concern including boosting Colorado’s notoriously low rates of minority ownership and employment; increasing the industry’s focus on environmental stewardship; and ensuring a more positive impact on communities where cannabis businesses operate, especially those that were disproportionately targeted by the War on Marijuana. “As we consolidate as an industry, and the size of these businesses get bigger, a lot of that tends to fall by the wayside,” Khalatbari says. “At which point we risk becoming just another industry, and not a better industry.”

To that end, he’s a founding member of the Minority Cannabis Business Alliance, and was a driving force behind the Initiative 300 campaign, which allowed Denver to create a pilot social use program. Now he’s planning to sue the city for stalling the Initiative 300 system, and throwing up roadblocks to its success. He’s also concerned that rapid consolidation of the industry has pushed out the original mom & pop style operators.

“I think it’s fair to say we’ve seen our ‘unique operators’ in Colorado cut in half in the last two years,” Khalatbari says. “The number of chains have expanded and taken up that market share, which has led to a drop in the price [of cannabis]. We have $100 ounces in Colorado, and obviously that’s good for consumers, but it makes it even harder for those mom & pops to stay afloat and keep up with the economy of scale enjoyed by the bigger operators.”

These are all issues (among many other progressive causes) Khalatbari will be raising in his upcoming campaign for mayor of Denver. And if that sounds like a pipe dream, keep in mind that long before he became the state’s most powerful politician, John “Chickenlooper” started out as a pioneering brewpub owner.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Washington’s Cannabis-Tracking Snafu Could Disrupt Sales

Last week, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) threw the state’s cannabis industry into panic with the announcement that its new traceability system, MJ Freeway’s Leaf Data, wouldn’t be ready until Jan 1. The development set the stage for a two-month gap between software systems, as the contract with the state’s current provider, BioTrack THC, will expire on Oct. 31.

With US Attorney General Jeff Sessions already critical of Washington’s legal cannabis program, failure of the state’s track-and-trace monitoring could be devastating. One of the key provisions of the Cole memo, a Department of Justice document outlining enforcement priorities around state-legal cannabis, is that states ensure cannabis isn’t being diverted out of state or to the illegal market. Without a tracking system, however, that’s impossible to demonstrate.

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In other words, as Washington’s cannabis industry switches systems, Sessions is likely to be watching closely.

“We have no intention of giving the federal government any reason to give this industry a hard time.”

Patrick Vo, BioTrack CEO

The LCB tried to extend its contract with BioTrack, but talks fell apart after BioTrack cited unaddressed security concerns and the LCB dismissed them as unfounded.

That impasse triggered the LCB’s contingency plan: a system of spreadsheets submitted on a weekly basis. Use of the manual system sparked rumors of product shortages, and many observers worried the industry’s ability to function during an incredibly busy harvest season might grind to a halt.

Jim MacRae, a data scientist who monitors the Washington cannabis industry, has called the situation the “Great Traceability Meltdown of 2017,” and has theorized that, under the spreadsheet system, there could be “pickup trucks full of bales of fine Washington Cannabis driving out of the state.”

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BioTrack’s Plan B

This past Thursday, in something of an end run around the state, BioTrack CEO Patrick Vo sent an open letter to the industry announcing that the company would continue operating its traceability system independently. Under the arrangement, cannabis businesses would be able to continue transferring products and tracking production as usual.

“We have no intention of giving the federal government any reason to give this industry a hard time,” Vo wrote. “BioTrack understands that even with manual spreadsheets, there needs to be some method of communication and data exchange between licensees regardless of which third-party commercial system you use.”

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The Cole memo mandates that legal states keep close track of their cannabis, ensuring that none is shipped across state lines or diverted to the black market. The fear is that cannabis could get lost under the spreadsheet system, as state regulators would be responsible for manually reconciling records rather than an automated software system that covers all licensees.

“If someone is manually keying in, ‘Okay, I received Manifest #123, I have a dozen brownies with identifier #456, I have two dozen vape cartridges under #789,’ and they mis-input something—intentionally or from honest human error—it’s going to be a lot more difficult to track that down,” Vo said.

The LCB, for its part, has downplayed the transition. Brian Smith, the LCB’s director of communications, told Leafly that the state will collect exactly the same data it currently does, just on a less regular basis.

Data on destruction and transportation of cannabis will still be collected daily, he noted. And while he acknowledged it wasn’t an ideal system, he predicted that traceability enforcement—by far the agency’s highest priority for cannabis—wouldn’t suffer.

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“We believe that we will enforce and we will be reviewing records, and we believe that most of our licensees will try and follow this new procedure correctly,” Smith said. “It’s too bad. We wish that there was more time and they wouldn’t have to make a change like this and it would happen automatically, but there is a period for two months that this will be in effect.”

Coordination is Key

Vo at BioTrack said it isn’t so much that the LCB won’t have access to the necessary data for enforcement, it’s that the data won’t be of much use to them if it’s not coordinated across the industry.

“The system we’re putting up just allows coordination,” he said. “If I’m using [the BioTrack inventory management client] and you’re using GreenBits, our systems can still exchange information. It’s going through the same switchboard.”

“The worst possible outcome in all of this is a splintered solution.”

Bob Ramstad, Oz owner

Having that information reconciled in real-time is crucial to the LCB’s ability to conduct traceability enforcement, he said. Reconciling by hand all the data submitted via spreadsheets could be prohibitively time-consuming for the LCB’s enforcement staff

“This is one of, if not the, busiest time for these licensees,” Vo said. “Even taking malicious diversion aside, the licensees have so much activity that there’s definitely a potential for creating a high-risk environment with respect to errors and inconsistencies.”

Cannabis businesses in Washington, meanwhile, universally agreed that maintaining a consistent traceability platform was essential for the industry to function.

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“The worst possible outcome in all of this is a splintered solution, some of them free, some of them paid, with different processors having to integrate with different solutions in order to work with different retailers,” Bob Ramstad, owner of Seattle retailer Oz, wrote in a forum discussion about the situation.

As of Monday, BioTrack still plans to maintain the tracking platform, which will be offered free to all state licensees for 30 days. After that, the company plans to charge each licensee a $50 subscription fee, which it says will go to cover costs.

“I can guarantee you that there will be turbulence.”

Patrick Vo, BioTrack CEO

How the independent system will interface with the LCB is still undetermined. BioTrack spokesman Jeffrey Gonring said that having the central BioTrack system generate the necessary spreadsheets for all licensees, instead of leaving it up to the various third-party software providers, was  a possibility, but that it wasn’t currently part of the system.

At least, Vo concluded, there is a system.

“Please remember that we are attempting to surf a wave in the wild here, so I can guarantee you that there will be turbulence as we go,” he wrote in his open letter.

“However, my team and I believe that this is our best option to avoid industry Armageddon and we will all band together to navigate these unpredictable waters as best we can.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Data Dive: Washington Tops $1.1 Billion in Cannabis Sales at 9-Month Mark

Cannabis sales in Washington state continue to grow at a steady rate, with total 2017 sales topping $1.1 billion at the end of September.

According to data released by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, over the past five months the state’s cannabis industry has broken a number of its own sales records, with monthly sales now exceeding $130 million.

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Sales in Washington state fluctuate month-to-month, with a bit of a dip in February, but the sales graph generally keeps moving up and to the right.

Chart courtesy of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Sales of extracts and solid edibles continue their rise in popularity:

In the above chart, the spike in sales in early 2016 coincided with the increase in retail cannabis licenses. In January 2016 the state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) increased the cap on retail licenses from 334 to 556. The state LCB tracks dollar-amount sales of concentrates, edibles, and topicals, but not flower. The agency does track the production of usable marijuana, which it tallies in pounds, in the chart below.

Chart courtesy of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

What Can Canada Learn from the US When it Comes to Cannabis Legalization?

In less than a year, The Cannabis Act will fulfill Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise to make adult-use recreational cannabis legal nationwide. While many Canadians are excited for legal cannabis, plenty more are concerned about just what that legal system will look like, and what its potential pitfalls are.

US legalization has yielded a wealth of data on everything from traffic fatalities to underage use to enforcement costs, addressing many of Canada’s key concerns.

Recreational cannabis might be brand new to Canada, but plenty of US states have blazed this particular trail already. Indeed, many of the concerns being raised by Canadians are the same ones raised in Washington and Colorado in 2014. Since then, nine US states have legalized recreational cannabis.

These early-adopter states have yielded a wealth of data, on everything from traffic fatalities to underage use to enforcement costs, addressing many of Canada’s key concerns about legalization. While legalizing cannabis on a national scale is a challenge unique to Canada, there’s a lot to be learned from the US.

How Much Does Enforcement Cost?

Toronto Mayor John Tory has claimed that legalization will result in drastically increased law-enforcement costs for cities. His theory is that “a big part” of enforcement costs will fall to municipalities, which will face major increases in the cost of business licensing, by-law enforcement, and policing. Tory supports a special levy on cannabis to offset these costs.

US cities haven’t seen the astronomical rise in law-enforcement costs Toronto’s Mayor Tory is predicting.

However, US cities haven’t seen the astronomical rise in enforcement costs Tory is predicting. Washington’s largest city, Seattle, requires only about 3-4 dedicated employees to regulate cannabis. Those employees don’t represent a burden on the budget, as the city’s cost to regulate cannabis is only about $500,000 for 2017. It might make Tory happy to know that Seattle is also slated to get a $700,000 cut of cannabis taxes from the state this year, which he also called for in Toronto. As far as policing goes, legal cannabis doesn’t seem to be changing the budget process much.

“I can’t speak to this without data,” said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, the Seattle Police Department’s communications director, but offered that, “We’ve had some significant cases [since legalization], but those are the same types of cases we’ve always had.”

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He’s previously stressed that his agency is primarily concerned with curbing youth access, busting big illegal grow ops, and enforcing DUI laws. Enforcement involving legal cannabis is not the SPD’s mission, according to Whitcomb.

Furthermore, contrary to Tory’s claims, cannabis legalization actually frees up law enforcement resources. According to a Drug Policy Alliance report from July 2015, written one year after the state’s first recreational cannabis sales, cannabis arrests decreased by 63%, from 6,196 in 2012 to 2,316 in 2014, with each arrest representing a cost of $1,000-2,000 to the government.

In general, legal cannabis more than covers the cost of regulation and enforcement.

In general, legal cannabis more than covers the cost of regulation and enforcement. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB), the agency that regulates cannabis in Washington and handles all legal cannabis enforcement, had an annual operating budget of $34 million in fiscal year 2016, including $13 million for enforcement. Cannabis taxes and fees brought in $189 million, about six times more than the agency’s entire budget. About $90 million of that excess cannabis revenue went to funding the state’s Basic Health program to provide insurance to low-income families.

In Colorado, they’re really rolling in it, it seems. The city of Aurora was famously able to raise so much extra tax from the cannabis industry that it earmarked $4.5 million for homelessness programs. A report by the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation found that Colorado netted $66 million and $96 million in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 fiscal years, respectively, after accounting for enforcement and regulation.

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The prognosis for Canada cashing in is pretty good, too. According to a report by the C.D. Howe institute, Canada could rake in as much as $500 million USD per year from legal cannabis. That report also includes only the existing state and federal taxes, meaning that if cannabis is subject to an additional excise tax, as it is in most U.S. states where it’s legal, Canada could see even more tax revenue.

What’s the Deal with DUI?

Though low-level possession arrests are down in legal states, the question of how to deal with drivers who may be under the influence of cannabis remains a thorny one. According to the aforementioned DPA report, overall traffic fatalities decreased in Washington post-legalization, although no causality was established.

Regardless of whether cannabis causes more accidents, no one wants more people driving under the influence, no matter what substance is influencing them. Though every state has provisions regarding cannabis DUIs on the books, none can claim to have developed an effective enforcement method yet.

Of all the questions facing Canada, how to regulate DUI might be the one for which the US has the fewest answers.

In Washington, the limit is five micrograms (ug) per milliliter of blood. It’s the same in Colorado. These limits, while well-intentioned, have been confusing. For one, it’s nearly impossible to tell if that 5 ug was from five minutes ago or five days ago, as cannabis can linger in the bloodstream well after its effects have worn off.

Beyond that, it’s nearly impossible to tell how profoundly 5 ug might affect someone, because individual tolerances vary so widely with cannabis. Some people can ingest 800mg, take the bus to downtown Seattle, and film a Nazi being punched, while others eat 100mg and think they’ve become one with the wallpaper. As the director of traffic safety and advocacy for AAA, Jake Nelson, told the Washington Post, “There is no reliable number that has any meaningful value in terms of predicting impairment.”

Assessing impairment in Canada has previously fallen to Drug Recognition Experts, officers trained to perform field evaluations of suspects who might be driving on drugs. AAA prefers the DRE system, but Canada’s is woefully inadequate even for their current need.

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“The problem is that there are fewer than 600 trained DRE officers in Canada,” an article in the Ottawa Citizen concluded. “An assessment conducted in 2009 estimated that Canada needs between 1,800 and 2,000 and the training system isn’t equipped to pump out trained officers any faster.”

If Canada does decide to ease the demand for DREs with a ug/ml limit, it’ll face the same criticisms of the legal limits used by US states. Of all the questions facing Canada, how to regulate DUI might be the one for which the US has the fewest answers.

How Do You Keep It Away From Kids?

One of the other major objections raised by opponents of cannabis legalization in both the US and Canada has been that legalizing cannabis normalizes it in the eyes of teens, and ultimately leads to an increase in underage use. Legalization proponents argue that putting cannabis in tightly regulated retail outlets actually deters underage access.

Studies seem to support the latter view, with post-legalization surveys of teenagers in both Colorado and Washington showing steady rates of cannabis use or even slight declines.

If Canada’s 18+ age restriction is as vigorously enforced as age limits in the US, an increase in underage use from legalization seems unlikely.

Though Hamilton police chief Eric Girt complained in a town hall this summer that cannabis products in Colorado were “being marketed to kids” and cautioned that the same could happen in Canada, it’s worth noting that the state has had strict advertising rules in place to prevent any marketing efforts that might appeal to minors since 2013. Manufacturers are not allowed to use any packaging that appeals to children, and no cannabis business can advertise in a location frequented by minors: malls, arcades, sports venues—the interpretation is pretty broad. Ads can only be placed in publications or broadcast outlets for which “reliable evidence” exists that less than 30% of the audience consists of minors.

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Nearly the same rules are in place in Washington, and Canada’s bill includes similar language. If Canada’s 18+ age restriction is as vigorously enforced as age limits are in the US, an increase in underage use from legalization seems unlikely.

Indeed, it might even lead to the slight reductions enjoyed by US states who have legalized and regulated cannabis. While minors can always ask an older sibling to sneak them something from the store, it’s still an extra step they didn’t have to take before. Dealers definitely don’t check ID.

Can Legal Cannabis Compete With the Black Market?

Speaking of dealers, many of the concerns around tax rates in Canada are about more than just the cost of enforcement. Regis police chief Evan Bray told the CBC that he was worried tax rates on cannabis would be too high, which he theorized would be a boon for the back market.

Those concerns are not entirely invalid, as legal states have struggled to completely eliminate the black market. In Washington, the relatively high 37% state excise tax on cannabis has been cited as a major factor in the black market’s persistence. However, through increased volume and improved efficiency, legal cannabis has achieved price parity with the black market in many instances.

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However, many states have far lower tax rates. Maine has proposed a 20% tax, Oregon only takes 17%, and Massachusetts is even lower at 3.75%.

That said, one of the other major reasons the black market persists in the US is the piecemeal nature of legalization, which simply shunts drug dealers from one state to another. Even within legal states, certain cities and counties have banned legal cannabis, creating pockets of demand for the black market.

While the black market has persisted in the US, the cannabis-driven violent crime scare Jeff Sessions is constantly crowing about simply isn’t supported by data. Violent crime has decreased overall in both Washington and Colorado since legalization.

Legalization Is Looking Pretty Bright for Canada

Overall, legalization looks pretty good. Rather than exacerbating problems of youth access and violent crime, legalizing cannabis seems poised to alleviate them—and to raise quite a bit of tax revenue while doing it. Though it is still unclear how best to regulate cannabis DUIs, legalizing cannabis has at least pushed forward the study of how cannabis affects driving performance, and created a demand for devices that can reliably measure cannabis intoxication on the side of the road. A pilot program to study the efficacy of roadside saliva tests is already underway in Canada.

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There is still the difficult question of how to handle the international drug enforcement treaties to which Canada is a party, and whether that process might delay legalization. Domestically speaking, however, if things play out like they have in the U.S., legalization looks to be a win.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Community Reeling After Washington Budtender Found Deceased

Members of Cheney, Washington’s cannabis community received news on Friday that their worst fears had been confirmed: Cameron Smith, the budtender who was abducted the previous weekend, had been found dead.

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Smith’s body was discovered by Spokane County Rescue just off State Route 904 west of Cheney, near Four Lakes, on Sept. 15 around 3 p.m. Cheney PD described the location of Smith’s body as being “concealed in heavy cover” several feet from the roadway, near where authorities last made contact with his cell phone and just south of where his vehicle was ultimately located, in Airway Heights.

Stacia Shirley, manager at Lucid Cheney, described the dispensary atmosphere upon hearing the news. “We’re just heartbroken,” she said.

The team at Lucid received word about an hour before the news was officially released to the media on Friday.

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Employees were sent screenshots of a Facebook update written by the suspect, 36-year-old Donovan Culps. “It was essentially a crazy written confession of guilt,” Shirley said. “Basically, ‘Yes, I did it, the two women weren’t involved.’ And the end, about how Cam was gone–‘Ain’t no coming back.’”

“He was a son, a father, a brother, an uncle, and a grandfather. He was a beautiful person doing the best he could do, and he was a good friend.”

Stacia Shirley, Lucid Store Manager

According to Shirley, Culps’ post on his private Facebook profile also indicated that he was ready to take on law enforcement. “He said they had a ‘shoot to kill warrant’ and that he was ready for it,” she explained.

Culps was apprehended on Thursday in Goldendale, 240 miles south of Cheney, near the Washington–Oregon border. The suspect was arrested after leading police on a chase that ended with Culps crashing into a tree. He was booked into Klickitat County Jail awaiting charges of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery. A Cheney police captain said last week that if Smith’s body were to be found, the charges would be upgraded to include first-degree murder.

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Law enforcement also apprehended Alisha Jackson, 18, for her presence during the abduction. She was already in police custody for separate charges but faces a federal charge of failing to report a felony. The third suspect, 18-year-old Violetta Culps, niece of Donovan Culps, has not been apprehended.

The team at Lucid has been reeling since Smith’s abduction, but Shirley told Leafly that they’ve all been trying to stay strong for Cam. “We’re just trying to push forward with a strong face, and that just shows what a strong influence he was on us. He would want us to stay strong,” she said.

Lucid has set up a GoFundMe campaign to support Smith’s family and help cover funeral costs. Shirley also asked that members of the cannabis community consider one of Smith’s biggest goals. “He always wanted to be [DOPE Industry Awards’] Budtender of the Year. It’s what he lived for and what he strived for, and now we’re trying to get him nominated.”

Shirley’s words echoed many of the sentiments expressed through the community on Lucid’s social media: “He was a son, a father, a brother, an uncle, and a grandfather. He was a beautiful person doing the best he could do, and he was a good friend.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Washington Labs Launch Effort to Address Credibility Crisis

In the wake of allegations that Washington state’s top cannabis lab was artificially inflating THC test results and improperly passing samples that should have failed microbial safety screenings, the sector has found itself facing a serious credibility crisis.

Only one lab, Peak Analytics, was alleged to have engaged in questionable lab practices, news first made public in a Leafly investigation. But the fact that the company’s shoddy test results went undetected by regulators for so long has spurred consumers and industry insiders alike to ask who, if anyone, was testing the testers. Some have openly wondered whether cannabinoid levels on product labels are even worth the paper they’re printed on.

RELATED STORY

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Now a consortium of Washington state testing laboratories are taking matters into their own hands in an effort to win back trust.

After the initial lab exposé went live, The Cannabis Alliance (TCA), a Washington trade association, invited all the state’s 18 licensed cannabis-testing labs to a meeting. According to Nick Mosely, co-owner of Confidence Analytics, 10 labs attended the meeting, held in the central Washington city of Ellensburg.

“We need the trust of the producer-processors if we’re going to benefit our businesses and our business relationships,” Mosely, Confidence Analytics’ chief science officer and a TCA board member, told me. “Beyond that, obviously the consumers care and are interested in lab testing and what it means for the quality of the product.”

Allegations that Peak Analytics had artificially sweetened THC test results, published as part of a Leafly investigation, have raised questions about reliability of testing data. (Amy Phung/Leafly)

The group of testers arrived at a plan to measure themselves against one another. They settled on a round-robin model, in which each lab would receive blinded, pre-tested samples from one of TCA’s grower members. None of the labs would know which grower the sample came from or what its cannabinoid content was. Each lab would be asked to test the sample to its normal standards using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), a common testing procedure. Results would be publicly available on TCA’s website.

Eight labs ended up participating in the round robin: Analytical 360, Confidence Analytics, Green Grower Labs, Medicine Creek Analytics, Molecular Testing Labs, Steep Hill, Washington Testing Technologies, and Trace Analytics. Each tested two flower strains, a BHO sample, and kief. All the samples were homogenized via a process called freeze-milling, which is a more reliable method than simply grinding up the flower samples in a traditional blender.

The thinking went like this: If the results were to come back in a tight cluster around the sample’s known cannabinoid content, that would be an indication the labs were operating under the same standards. A wide spread, on the other hand, would indicate bigger methodological issues at play.

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The outcome? The resulting spread of THC percentages was less than three points, according to a report of the findings—relatively good news.

“While the outcomes of this experiment lend credibility to those labs willing to collaborate and show that the variability between them (described as one standard deviation) is less than 1/10th the measurement,” the report says, “there is always room for improvement.”

Labs that reported higher THC values than their peers tended to do so for all samples (likewise with labs that reported lower values), which the report’s authors suggested was most likely due to methodological differences in how each lab performs test procedures. The report also notes that there was disagreement among labs in terms of testing for minor cannabinoids, such as CBD and CBG .

Despite the differences, the report commended the eight participating labs for their mutual cooperation. “To have industry leaders, and business competitors, working together toward meaningful improvements to standards of practice is especially needed in a nascent industry where the unknowns are multivariate and the guidelines are still developing,” it said.

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Doing a ton of free testing, of course, isn’t something labs are usually keen on. But Mosely said the aim—to get the state’s testing labs on the same page—was well worth it.

“There obviously is quite a bit of extra effort in order to get that consistency,” he said, adding that “everybody up and down the chain is benefitting. It starts with the labs.”

The round-robin testing, Mosely added, goes above and beyond the standard proficiency testing performed by RJ Lee, the state’s accrediting body for labs. RJ Lee is located out of state and thus can’t handle physical cannabis, which makes their tests less applicable, Mosely said, contending that the round robin, performed completely within the confines of the state’s licensed cannabis system, better addresses the issue.

“The labs know they’re being tested and evaluated, and they presumably put on their best face and do the best that they can.”

Jim MacRae, data scientist

What the round-robin approach doesn’t do, however, is replace enforcement. Washington data scientist Jim MacRae, who has focused much of his work on tracking suspect results by the state’s cannabis labs, pointed out that all the labs involved knew they were participating in a round-robin test, even if they didn’t know the cannabinoid content of the samples they were testing.

“It’s these guys saying, ‘Here’s how good of a job we can do,’” MacRae told Leafly. “It’s certainly a cynic that would say they’re not doing this on a daily basis, but basically that test is an opportunity for them to show how good they can be.”

That fact, MacRae argued, underscores a fundamental problem with existing proficiency testing performed by the state’s designated lab auditor, RJ Lee: The testing is announced in advance.

“The labs know they’re being tested and evaluated, and they presumably put on their best face and do the best that they can,” MacRae said. Which means RJ Lee’s proficiency testing—as well as the round-robin tests performed by TCA—are great at evaluating a lab’s “capability” but not necessarily its “culpability,” as MacRae put it.

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“Capability shows what they can do when they’re on their best behavior,” he said. “If what they display when they don’t know they’re being evaluated is significantly different than what they display when they know they’re being evaluated, then there’s a problem there.”

Mosely, of Confidence Analytics, agreed. But he said the effort to ensure consistency between testing labs isn’t meant to replace enforcement efforts.

“Proficiency testing is not intended as an enforcement mechanism,” he says. “Neither is round robin. The participants know they are participating. They do it to improve their methodology, not as a gotcha. A good proficiency testing program helps good labs do better.”

But what about labs whose problems have more to do with ethical deficiencies than  methodological ones?

Identifying bad actors among the state’s licensed cannabis labs is a difficult process, one that requires collecting data from labs without letting them know. That responsibility rests with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB). And MacRae, for one, doesn’t think the agency is taking the job very seriously.

“The LCB has allowed this to continue on and on and on,” he said. “The bottom line is this: When labs do [this]—giving superior potency results, failing to fail samples—the LCB doesn’t seem to give a shit.”

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The LCB does indeed operate a secret shopper program for labs, however, and has tested 220 samples since it began in late 2016, according to Brian Smith, the agency’s communications director.  Regulators so far haven’t issued any violations based on those tests and are still reviewing the results, he said.

The LCB did recently suspend Peak Analytics’ testing license, but that action came in response to an audit by RJ Lee, which itself was prompted by an outside complaint against Peak—not by a secret shopper.

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As Mosely points out, however, the LCB’s secret-shopping program can be difficult to administer.

“Secret shopping is expensive. You have to pay for the tests. You have to lot the samples in traceability. You have to send someone out undercover. One sample is not enough. You need n-power if you want to stand in court and make a case,” he explained. “Lot’s of ins, lot’s of outs.”

In the meantime,  the question of how to effectively stop labs from cheating remains unanswered. While the round robin represents a significant step forward for lab standardization, it doesn’t replace the type of consumer assurance that government oversight provides. Whether the LCB’s program will develop into something that does is anyone’s guess.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Leafly List: The Best Cannabis Dispensaries in Washington, Fall 2017

THE LEAFLY LIST: WASHINGTON

Fall 2017

The Leafly List ranks the top dispensaries and retail stores in each of the major North American cannabis markets every quarter. This region-specific version is designed to provide helpful, community-based information for cannabis consumers looking for the most relevant dispensaries in Washington. It highlights the most talked-about locations in the state based on customer feedback metrics* and reviews of each location’s quality, service, and atmosphere. Check out the Leafly List FAQ for more information on how dispensaries are ranked.

The Leafly List is based on 100% objective customer feedback and data collected by Leafly. Businesses CANNOT pay for a spot on the list.

Seattle, WA

Pot Stop Marijuana Dispensary Seattle Washington Leafly List(Courtesy of Pot Stop)

Pot Stop, centrally located in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, makes a point of catering directly to individual requests. Whether visitors are after medicinal potency, splurge-worthy top shelf flower, or the best available no-frills deals, warm, welcoming budtenders behind the counter will happily guide any customer in the right direction.

Index: 93.76

What to Buy: Fire OG from Artizen Cannabis

Also Featured In: Washington Retail Cannabis Shops with Medical Marijuana Endorsements

What People Are Saying:

“The best place in Seattle to actually SHOP for cannabis. The staff are reliable and give you great recommendations that are genuinely motivated by getting you the best product. These guys do it right every time, I’ll always shop here.” —Schueler24

George, WA

(Courtesy of Grass Station George)

The Grass Station is conveniently located in close proximity to the Gorge, making it popular among locals as well as those just passing through. Friendly and professional staff, a large selection, and impressive deals round out to make this dispensary a must-visit for those in George.

Index: 88.96

What to Buy: Acapulco Gold cartridge from Avitas

What People Are Saying:

“No doubt—this is my favorite shop in this state. The people are wonderful and knowledgeable and the products are bar none. Swing by, totally worth it!” —bruhip

Seattle, WA

(Courtesy of Fweedom Cannabis)

Not only is Fweedom Cannabis friendly, they’re also pet friendly! Customers don’t have to leave their dogs behind when they browse the wide selection at this Aurora Avenue dispensary, which is known for its team of welcoming, expert budtenders, reasonable prices, and commitment to quality.

Index: 88.88

What to Buy: Paradise Indica Tincture from Ethos

What People Are Saying:

“I have been a customer at Fweedom since 2012 and have always been impressed by the quality of their products! The prices are unbeatable, their customer service is top notch and their clean professional environment is what has kept me as a consistent returning customer for the past 5 years. Fweedom is a prime example of what the marijuana industry should be striving for! Thank you for being the best, Fweedom!” —Dreidabs

Moses Lake, WA

Apex Cannabis Moses Lake Washington Marijuana Dispensary — Leafly List Spring 2017

Offering a wide selection of locally-grown cannabis, Apex is proud to keep it close to home at their Moses Lake location. They travel to each farm represented in their store to get to know their farmers and their products, so you know you’re getting the best hand-picked quality cannabis straight from the source.

Index: 88.84

What People Are Saying:

“I truly LOVE Apex! I have no doubt that when I walk into one of their store’s I will be treated like a person and not just a customer. Everyone is very friendly and so knowledgeable about the product they sell and are so helpful when you have something you are looking for or if you need a certain strain for, ailments, for example, such as pain or sleeping. Whether you’re looking for edibles with more CBD and less THC or leaning toward oils with indica rather than sativa this crew truly knows their stuff. I thoroughly enjoy going to Apex.” —pixie637

Port Townsend, WA

(Courtesy of Discovery Bay Cannabis)

Any dispensary that’s located in an old, repurposed train is awesome by default, but Discovery Bay goes above and beyond. The staff at this unique Port Townsend destination are most concerned with matching people with the strains and products that will work best for them, and visitors appreciate the friendly vibe and wide selection.

Index: 88.24

Also Featured In: The 9 Most Unique Cannabis Dispensaries

What People Are Saying:

“This is one of the coolest spots around. Amazing and knowledgeable staff. They’re all so friendly, I love how they feature products grown locally and fantastic prices!” —tenderpoison956

Seattle, WA

Located just minutes from the airport, Kush21 – Burien’s 1st Pot Shop strives to be the area’s most convenient, affordable cannabis destination. Though they’re relatively new on the scene, they’ve already built up a large base of loyal customers who appreciate the friendly service, fair prices, and welcoming atmosphere.

Index: 88.04

Also Featured In: The Closest Dispensaries to the Airport in Legal States

What People Are Saying:

“I’m visiting here from Pennsylvania and this was my first stop. I felt very welcome and it was very professional. No pressure to purchase anything specific. The budtender, Oliver, was very knowledgeable and very helpful. He hooked me up with everything I needed for my stay here. I’ll definitely be back again before I leave!” —DirtyDab

Spokane, WA

(Courtesy of Royals Cannabis)(Courtesy of Royal’s Cannabis)

This Spokane dispensary’s goal is to ensure that each and every customer leaves satisfied, and it shows. People come from near and far for the lucrative daily deals, attentive budtenders, quality flower, and complimentary coffee.

Index: 87.8

What People Are Saying:

“I really like the employees. Doug is my favorite one. He is a really friendly guy. The whole crew are nice. Always very helpful! And all the employees make me feel welcome. Thanks for your great products. And prices. Love you guys.” —rebbrowser

Mountlake Terrace, WA

Rainier Cannabis Washington Marijuana Dispensary — Leafly List Spring 2017(Courtesy of Rainier Cannabis)

Rainier Cannabis is proud to offer its famous “420 special” (four grams for $20), but don’t miss out on this location’s other great deals. According to Leafly reviews, the staff at Rainier are knowledgeable and provide wonderful service, especially for first time customers.

Index: 87.36

What People Are Saying:

“I shop here almost daily, even though there is competition nearby. The staff is always friendly, always willing to take time to help. I even know some of their names: Ian, Petros, Ray, and Miranda. They have phoned me when a product I’ve been waiting for arrives. Exceptional service! I love this store, my favorite ever.” —paulkis2017

Seattle, WA

(Courtesy of Green Fire Cannabis)

Open ‘til midnight every night, Green Fire Cannabis boasts an impressive glass gallery complete with a large selection of American-made glass. Many budtenders at this industrial-yet-welcoming dispensary transitioned from a medical to recreational market, and are comfortable making knowledgeable recommendations to a wide variety of customers.

Index: 86.88

What People are Saying:

“Fantastic dispensary — good location, great selection, great service. The prices were reasonable for the pre-rolls I picked up, and the girl behind the bar took time to help me pick out what I wanted. She even looked up strain information for me. Sitting at the bar made me want to hang out there — and the Maui Superdawg pre-rolls were fantastic. Thanks!” —paddyws

Seattle, WA

(Google Maps)

Mary’s is designed with the most seasoned cannabis connoisseurs in mind, but that doesn’t mean that newcomers should feel intimidated. The knowledgeable budtenders at this North Seattle dispensary go out of their way to make sure that everyone has an enjoyable experience, and most importantly, leaves with the product that’s right for them. Plus, they’re dog-friendly, so there’s no need to leave your best friend in the car.

Index: 86.64

What People Are Saying:

“My favorite shop on the green mile strip on Aurora! Love chatting it up with Armando about concentrates. Allie & Anthony are awesome as well! Always love walking in and seeing them, always killing it! Mary’s is the spot 🔥” —GunnerT

1817 130th Ave NE Suite B Bellevue, WA

(Courtesy of The Novel Tree)

A beautiful boutique location on the east side of Lake Washington, The Novel Tree is one-part glass art gallery and one-part bud bar, creating an innovative way to showcase its products and display its local glass artists. The location focuses on curating the best local cannabis products and building a sense of community in the cannabis movement.

Index: 86.2

What People Are Saying:

“I am a regular and they are awesome!! I rarely get my product anywhere else- very friendly and helpful staff, crazy amazing storefront and amazing product. I tell all my friends to go there when they need to restock. They often have guests come in and showcase their product (my first time I went, I met the fine folks from Sugarleaf and then another time Clandestine). Overall, great store, even better staff ❤️❤️” —MarauderOfGeese

Seattle, WA

(Courtesy of A Greener Today)

Located just a few blocks from Seattle’s light rail, this dispensary is as convenient as it is welcoming. Many of A Greener Today Marijuana’s staff members transitioned from the medical marijuana industry, so they understand the importance of working one on one with customers to help them find exactly what they’re looking for.

Index: 85.64

What People Are Saying:

“First off let me just say this place is awesome. when I first arrived inside this place the staff was very polite nobody was rude or didn’t want to help. they welcomed me with open arms. very convient for me. fantastic selection. reasonable prices. #1 favorite store now. I’ll see them today lol.” —Isaiah23

Lynnwood, WA

(Courtesy of Kushman’s)

First-time visitors to Kushman’s receive a generous 15% off their entire order, but what keeps people coming back to this Lynnwood dispensary is the team of helpful, expert staff, who are skilled at helping visitors navigate a wide selection of both value and top-shelf products to find what’s right for them.

Index: 85.6

What People Are Saying:

“Kushman’s is the best everyone there are extremely friendly and knowledgeable about there products and the quality of the buds and concentrates are are on point at the best prices I don’t go anywhere else.” —Juelz13santana

Otis Orchards-East Farms, WA

Apex Cannabis Dispensary Washington Leafly List(Courtesy of Apex Cannabis)

Located just minutes from the Idaho state line, Apex Cannabis features friendly and knowledgeable staff, daily deals, and high quality products. Reviewers are quick to praise their large selection of locally-grown cannabis, loyalty program, and cozy atmosphere, making Apex a natural addition to this month’s Leafly List.

Index: 85.84

What People Are Saying:

“Hands down the best environment, well rounded and most upbeat group of people. Answer all my questions and concerns along with recommend products that would actually work and add to my collections. I am beyond impress and overall highly recommending all my friends and family to come. I will be back and will forever be a returning customer.” —ChelsB2332

Spokane Valley, WA

(Courtesy of Cannabis and Glass Spokane Valley)(Courtesy of Cannabis & Glass Spokane Valley)

In addition to a robust loyalty program, Cannabis & Glass guarantees that no flower they carry costs over $10/gram. It makes sense, then, that they have such large and loyal group of regular customers, many of whom are on a first-name basis with the staff. If you’re a newcomer, don’t let this intimidate you—you’ll be a regular in no time at all.

Index: 85.32

What People Are Saying:

“Very knowledgeable and friendly staff. Love going here every time. Thank you for everything you guys do. Would recommend to anyone!” —tyzesh

Puyallup, WA

(Courtesy of Greenhand Puyallap)(Courtesy of Greenhand Puyallup)

This Puyallup dispensary’s group of loyal customers love that the budtenders here are great at making recommendations but never push to get people to go home with products that aren’t a perfect fit.

Index: 84.92

What People Are Saying:

“Every time I go into there store, I always have a pleasant time. Everyone who works there are very friendly, I live over 40 miles away from them but I would never want to go anywhere else. I would recommend this store to anyone I know.” —Edmonson86

Covington, WA

Euphorium Covington Washington Marijuana Dispensary — Leafly List Spring 2017(Courtesy of Euphorium Covington)

Euphorium in Covington offers a wide selection of premium products that will keep you coming back for more. Their knowledgeable staff is always ready to answer any questions with quick and friendly service. Whether you’re an avid consumer or completely new to cannabis, this shop has you covered.

Index: 84.64

What People Are Saying:

“When you’re just getting into embracing the legality of weed, going to shops can be anxiety inducing. Personally, knowing you have to walk in the store but not knowing exactly what to do next and risking embarrassing yourself is actually very unsettling. This is not the case here. I love this location and I gladly make the drive though other places may be closer to me. When I walk into a shop I know I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m looking for service from someone who doesn’t make me feel stupid for not knowing what I’m doing. That is what I got here. I always ask for suggestions for sativas, indicas, hybrids, etc. and I’ve never disappointed in the suggestions or the friendly service.” —bbs3

4033 NE Sunset Blvd, Suite 5 Renton, WA

Emerald Haze cannabis dispensary in Renton, Washington(Courtesy of Emerald Haze)

Voted “Best in Renton 2016” by the Renton Reporter, Emerald Haze Cannabis Emporium is a high-quality recreational dispensary raising the bar in the Pacific Northwest. Visitors love the friendly budtenders and solid product selection.

Index: 84.28

What People Are Saying:

“Great crew and fair prices! Customer service is wonderful, knowledgeable staff, large variety of product. Green Acres and Artizen are my jam and they always have some there 🙂 plus, cheapest price for the IndigoPro I’ve seen yet! Smart move to shop here if you’re in the area.” —dazetrip

Woodinville, WA

(Rick_Thompson/iStock)

The friendly staff at Euphorium’s Woodinville location have a special knack for helping customers narrow down their vast selection of high-quality cannabis to just a few items, turning what may initially seem like an insurmountable task into a perfectly manageable (and pleasant) one.

Index: 84.2

What People Are Saying:

“I like the crew here. Friendly staff, great at narrowing your choices without being overbearing. They help you select your exact needs in a great way.” —Kerouac71

Seattle, WA

(Courtesy of Diego Pellicer)(Courtesy of Diego Pellicer)

Leafly reviewers have likened the interior of Diego Pellicer to lobby of a fancy hotel, a high-end jewelry shop, and a museum (among other things). Whatever it reminds you of, the quality of this Seattle dispensary extends beyond its physical space. The staff go out of their way to answer any questions, and customers are overwhelmingly pleased with both the quality and selection of the products.

Index: 83.96

What People Are Saying:

“Diego Pellicer has risen above the others to become my go-to shop. Great selection, quality products, and I am hard pressed to find better deals on my favorite picks. The staff are seriously impressive. They have walked me through my first vape pen, answered product questions, and never steered me wrong on suggestions or alternatives. I so appreciate their patience and wisdom.” —pammsamm

Previous Washington Leafly List

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*The Fall 2017 Leafly List uses customer service metrics from the three months prior to its month of publication.


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Washington Budtender Abducted, Still Missing

A well-known budtender from a Eastern Washington cannabis dispensary remains missing this week after being abducted outside the shop Sunday afternoon.

The abduction of Cameron Smith from the Lucid retail store in Cheney, just outside the city of Spokane, has rocked the local cannabis community.

Cameron Smith, who works at Lucid as a budtender, was abducted outside of the dispensary Sunday, Sept. 10, in Cheney, Wash. He is a father of two and a strong advocate for cannabis. (Sofia Jaramillo for Leafly)

According to Dennis Turner, Lucid’s co-owner and Smith’s brother, the encounter started off simply enough.

Two women and one man pulled up to the dispensary in a white Ford F-250 truck, he told Leafly. Turner recalled that one of the female suspects appeared to be watching the dispensary intently. “It looked like she was casing the building, checking out the video cameras, and walking around the building,” he said.

Cameron Smith, pictured left (courtesy of Lucid’s Facebook profile).

The male suspect and one woman attempted to enter the dispensary, but when asked for identification, the male could not provide his ID, saying he had left it behind in Yakima, a city located about 190 miles west of Cheney, Turner said. He was subsequently denied entrance. The woman produced identification that showed her year of birth as 1999, Turner said. “She wasn’t in compliance and she was rejected from the shop.”

A sign dedicated to Cameron Smith sits on a chair outside of Lucid in Cheney, Wash., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Smith, who works at Lucid as a budtender, went missing Sunday, Sept. 10, after being abducted outside of the dispensary. (Sofia Jaramillo for Leafly)

“Our brother, Cam, was working as lead budtender—he’s everyone’s favorite budtender,” Turner told Leafly. “On lunch, he likes to sit in his car and listen to his music while he eats.”

Smith, the 46-year-old barber-turned-budtender from Toledo, Ohio, exited his car for a moment and walked right past the male suspect. He then returned to his vehicle, a 2008 silver Acura SUV, to finish his lunch.

“The gentleman pulled up to Cam’s car and it appeared there was a verbal exchange between them,” Turner explained, referring to video surveillance footage that captured the moment between the two men. “At that point, the dude pulled a gun out and fired two shots into the car. It knocked out the back window. He jumped into the driver’s seat and took off with Cam still in the car.”

The two accompanying women took off in the white Ford truck, which was later reported stolen from the White Swan area of Yakima County.

A poster board is filled with notes to Cameron Smith from community members and friends at Lucid in Cheney, WA, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. “Everyone knew Cam. Even if they didn’t partake in marijuana they appreciated him and they got to know him for who he was,” said store manager Stacia Shirley. (Sofia Jaramillo for Leafly)

“We haven’t seen or heard from him since,” said Turner.

The Cheney Police Department responded to requests saying they have warrants out for two individuals, but neither are currently in custody. Law enforcement have identified the male suspect as Donavon Culps and the woman as his 18-year-old niece, Violetta Culps, both from the White Swan area of Yakima.

Store manager Stacia Shirley holds a picture of Cameron Smith at an office near Lucid in Cheney, Wash., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Smith, who works at Lucid as a budtender, went missing Sunday, Sept. 10, after being abducted outside of the dispensary. “He got along with everybody and he had such a positive presence. There was no way you couldn’t love that man,” said Shirley. (Sofia Jaramillo for Leafly)

The case has expanded to include the nearby Spokane Police Department, Yakama Tribal Police, and the FBI.

Efforts were made to ping Smith’s cell phone, but the signal was lost near Medical Lake, at which point authorities believe the suspect threw Smith’s phone out the window.

Signs and candles are set up outside of Lucid in Cheney, Wash., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. “He embodied Lucid. He loved everybody in this company. He was a light in the shop. When you walk in he was the first thing you seen,” said Smith’s brother Dennis Turner. (Sofia Jaramillo for Leafly)

“They’re treating it as a kidnapping and potential homicide,” Turner said. “This guy has an extensive criminal background.”

The team at Lucid Marijuana has not given up hope. The group planned a vigil seeking Smith’s safe return, and law enforcement has been using all resources to bring him home. There’s been an outpouring of support local community members on social media, as Smith is well-known and well-loved within the small town of Cheney.

A site dedicated to Cameron Smith is set up inside the Lucid store in Cheney, Wash., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (Sofia Jaramillo for Leafly)

“They put out an APB [all-points bulletin] on his vehicle,” Turner said. “They’ve got helicopters searching, they’ve got the dogs out.”

A Cheney Police Department spokesperson told Leafly on Tuesday that Smith’s vehicle had been located in Airway Heights near Medical Lake, which is where authorities last made contact with Smith’s cell phone.

“The Washington state crime lab is still processing the scene,” Cheney PD reported. “We still have not located the victim.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Washington Sees Declines in Teen Use, Treatment Admissions Since Legalization

For legalization opponents eager to see regulated cannabis markets fail, a new government report out of Washington state isn’t yielding much in the way of talking points.

Since 2012, when the state became one of the first in the country to legalize cannabis for adult use, consumption rates among minors have remained stable or fallen. The number of admissions to treatment for cannabis use disorder—and in fact, all admissions involving cannabis—have gently declined. There’s even some evidence that legalization in the Pacific Northwest “may have led to a drop in rape and murder rates,” the report says.

The findings were published this month by the government-run Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP), which is required under the state’s legalization law, Initiative 502, to conduct regular cost-benefit analyses for the next 25 years. The report’s conclusions are still preliminary, but the emerging picture is one of a relatively healthy cannabis program free of the horrors forecasted by critics.

“In my overall appraisal, there’s not much evidence I-502 has caused changes in the outcomes we looked at,” the report’s lead researcher and author, Adam Darnell, told the Seattle Times.

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Some of the most reassuring findings have to do with children. Prohibitionists have long warned that legalization would increase cannabis consumption by minors, but in Washington, the numbers tell a different story. Among students, cannabis use rates have steadily fallen since 2012, when voters adopted adult-use legalization. Rates began dropping even more sharply in 2014, when regulated sales began.

Prohibitionists said legalization would lead to higher rates of use by minors. The opposite seems to be happening. (Washington State Institute for Public Policy)

Since legalization, more teens are reporting that cannabis is “hard or very hard to get,” the report found, refuting legalization critics’ fears that legal sales mean easier access for minors.

Critics have also worried that legalization could send kids the message that cannabis use is healthy, but the report indicates the opposite is happening. Students’ perception that cannabis is “harmful or very harmful”—which had been in decline since 2006—actually increased among most students since legal sales began. “The downward trend in perceived harm of cannabis use stabilized from 2014 to 2016,” the report found.

More students say cannabis is “hard or very hard to get” today than before legalization, and concern over the health effects of cannabis are stabilizing. (Washington State Institute for Public Policy)

While cannabis use has fallen among minors since legalization, it’s risen slightly among adults. Use rates climbed noticeably during the first several months following the launch of adult-use sales—perhaps because of the novelty of newly legal cannabis—but have since mostly subsided.

Cannabis consumption rose noticeably after legal markets opened, but the increase has since mostly subsided. (Washington State Institute for Public Policy)

Notably, however, those increases haven’t led to more drug-treatment admissions. “We found that cannabis abuse treatment admissions were not affected by I-502 enactment,” the report’s authors write. “We also found that the amount of legal cannabis sales generally had no effect on outcomes.”

While a drop in court-referred treatment admissions might be no surprise—the number of cannabis-related criminal convictions has fallen since legalization—there was also a notable decline in admissions that weren’t referred by the criminal justice system. While the report notes that “there is no evidence that the enactment of I-502 caused this change,” the findings nevertheless go against prohibitionists’ predictions that treatment admissions would skyrocket as a consequence of legalization.

Admissions to treatment for cannabis and other drug disorders have actually fallen since legalization. (Washington State Institute for Public Policy)

Legalization’s effects on violent crime aren’t yet fully clear, but the report does highlight a pair of studies indicating legalization may helped tamp down violence. One study, relying on FBI-reported crimes, found evidence “of decreased homicide and assault associated with medical legalization.” Another, looking at adult use, “found evidence that non-medical legalization in Washington and Oregon may have led to a drop in rape and murder rates.”

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In digesting the report’s findings, it’s crucial to keep in mind that legalization is largely uncharted territory. Washington’s legalization law “imposed a number of different changes on the state,” the report says, “including changes to criminal prohibitions; the creation of a regulated cannabis supply system; and mandated investments in substance abuse prevention, treatment, and research. Each aspect of I-502 may have had its own effects on outcomes.”

Nevertheless, the important takeaway is this: The parade of horribles predicted by opponents of cannabis legalization simply hasn’t happened. Since Washington state became one of the first to challenge federal prohibition, residents here have largely kept calm and carried on.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.