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This bud’s for you

April 11th, 2014 · 26 Comments

Click here for video!

By reporter Steven Smalley

 

Legal marijuana – you knew it was coming.
Retailers can sell to consumers beginning in July, according to published reports. What you may not have considered is where the pot will grow – from seedling to salable commodity. Someone must cultivate it somewhere. Get ready…Seattle’s first state-sanctioned grow site – Sea of Green Farms – is located here in Magnolia.
“The reason we ended up in Magnolia is that we were told this is one of three places in all of Seattle that we could grow as much as we want to grow. We want to have 7,000 square feet,” reveals Bill Leeds, Capitol Hill resident and co-owner of Seattle’s first legal marijuana grow operation. “It’s because we are not located within 1,000 feet of anything to do with children, and this is a commercial neighborhood. Not only commercial, it’s also industrial.”
Leeds’ motivation to embark on a controversial new business in retirement is related to boredom and a fear of death around the corner, just as the golden years begin, he says. He has seen too many friends retire and then just as quickly, pass away.
“I thought there’d be a little money to be made and I thought it’d be a fun thing to do in retirement,” he revealed. There was no uncertainty of his future success. “You don’t know what the Fed’s are going to do. You don’t know what the state’s going to do. I never had a doubt it was going to work,” he insists.
Fear not, citizens of Magnolia. Leeds isn’t selling to individuals, only to retail stores that are already lining up to buy from him. Leeds says the phone rings 4-5 times a day with requests to provide them merchandise.
“We’re strictly growers and processors,” he emphasizes.
When asked about the reported high taxes placed on the weed, he explains the burden is not on growers. “There’s a lot of taxation, but it’s going to be paid by the retailer and by the consumer. Up to as much as 75%,” he explains.
As for product quality, “I’m not a smoker, but everyone says it’s nothing but good,” he declares.
Would he ever sell to a larger concern? His answer came without hesitation. “If a big company were to walk in and offer to buy us out, we’d be glad to do that if the price was right. We’d just go someplace else and start over again and rebuild,” he said.
Finally, Leeds wants his Magnolia neighbors to know they have nothing to fear from his secluded grow operation. “I just want you to know that you, your family and your children are safe,” he reassured.
Click here to view Magnolia Voice video story.

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  • harleylever

    I think this is great! I would much prefer a regulated and tax-paying business who provides jobs in our area vs. a drug cartel and illegal growers any day. After having close to a 17% commercial vacancy rate, having cannabis-related businesses leasing empty spaces is good for real estate owners, our economy, and our tax base. The truth is recreational cannabis industry is the smallest segment of the industry, when compared to hemp and medical cannabis. I do think the Washington State Liquor Board is doing a terrible job at implementation. Over 7,000 people want to start a business here in Washington. Many of whom could be wolrd-wide leaders of the industry. The liquor board wants to implement the same failed program as they had with alcohol. In the same breath, they are driving up prices to the point where it will be 300% higher than street prices. The only people who benefit from this is the black market. They need to produce at least what the market demand and at prices competitive with the black market. Right now, their limited production will leave retail stores starved for product which skyrockets prices and leaves retail business owners with no revenue potentials as they will be forced to wait 3 months for a new harvest. No, new business owners can survive like this.

    • suzanne

      Wow, so much information. All I care about is that when someone is driving they aren’t under the influence of alcohol or weed and keep their drugs in their own world and not influence mine. I think people who smoke are lethargic and never amount to much, but then I know of active psychiatrists and such who use it every day, so what do I know. Anyway, interesting story, and I’d really like to know where in Magnolia its grown. I’ve seen stores for it on my way down 85th to the freeway.

      • harleylever

        I agree, nobody should be driving under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or prescription drugs for that matter. However, I disagree about the broad characterization of “people who smoke are lethargic and never amount to much”. Richard Branson (Virgin Arilines, Virgin Records) smokes on a regular basis and is well known billionaire and serial entrepreneur. I know scores of highly successful business people in just about every industry who smoke on a regular basis. Like anything, if you abuse it and let it consume your entire life, your are destined for problems.

        • suzanne

          OK, then let me ask you some questions, given that I am liberal about most things. My impression is that when you use any kind of drug it reduces your ability to think clearly. People like Branson may make great decisions, and use it recreationally, but the average person (my impression) who smokes, just sits around with other pot smokers and doesn’t do much else. I hike quite a bit, and I cannot imagine anyone doing something physically demanding who also uses drugs (well maybe Lance Armstrong). So dispel my prejudices…the average preteen or young person who uses marijuana doesn’t go on to try the stronger stuff? (threshold drug, etc). Most smart kids know to avoid heroin, etc, but the various pills seem easier when people are already high on something else. Obviously I don’t use any of that ( and when I do have a drink I never would consider myself capable of making an intelligent decision then). I just feel kids that smoke and even older people that smoke are rarely in good physical shape because it becomes a lifestyle…like opium, in its way. Fill me in.

          • harleylever

            Michael Phelps is a pot smoker. He won 8 gold medals. Do you think you can beat him swimming? :) Your impressions seem to be media-driven. For the 41 years I was alive, I have seen thousands of “Cheech and Chong” depictions of most pot smokers. So I can’t really blame you for your impressions, but can only say they are wrong. Bill Clinton (he did inhale), George W. Bush, Barak Obama, and even George Washington are all well-documented pot smokers and they seemed to do just fine and were highly motivated. You bring up children smoking pot, but I am not advocating children smoke pot, drink, eat sugar, or do any other drug that would harm their body, especially during the developmental stage. As a society, we must teach our kids moderation. Whether it is alcohol or pizza, becoming addicted to it and consuming it to excess will eventually kill you. There is a drug out there that is marketed to kids at a very early age that is highly addictive. You can easily find it at schools. It causes rapid mood swings, depression, and all sorts of physical issues. If children become addicted some will experience heart-attacks, strokes, blindness, and open sores that in many cases lead to amputations all before their miserable death. Worst of all, our government not only knows about it, they subsidies it. It costs our society $280 Billion/year in healthcare costs. The drug is called sugar.

          • suzanne

            Yes, I used to write a nutrition magazine, so of course I know about sugar. I think its worst of all, next to alcohol. I appreciate your answers. I can see that using pot like a bottle of wine is just a recreational relaxant. And that all the above are bad for kids. So I guess I thank you for dispelling some of my prejudices, but my conclusion isn’t that different than yours…plenty of things are relaxing for responsible adults, but easy access to alcohol or pot for teens increases the likelihood that they will use it…like having alcohol available in their parent’s home, easily available pot will be used too. I raised two very successful kids who don’t drink or use any drugs (they seem proud to tell me)…not because I taught it was wrong, but because I never used them, and I taught them that to succeed that should have a clear mind. As an adult, I relax with wine or spirits at a restaurant and expect that they do too…so its just kids I think about, and setting examples for them of behaviors. Sitting in front of a TV is also an addictive drug.. Thanks for the discussion.

          • harleylever

            Yes, I truly think the key to any successful child is good parenting and leading by example. Having parents present in your life and having a constant and open dialogue with them affords parents the opportunity to help guide their children’s decisions. While I completely agree ease of access to drugs provides a greater opportunity to experiment with them, the truth is most drugs are already easy to access and widely available in schools. I hope that by having a regulated system that produces tax revenues we can eventually kill the black market for marijuana, create a regulated systems which contains barriers to access for children, and produces tax revenues that will fund drug abuse preventions and rehabilitation programs.

          • suzanne

            Very well put. I think anyone who reads our discussion will come away having learned some things (I did, anyway).

          • Heywood

            I’m glad you mentioned the black market. This is where our state runs into the Law of Unintended Consequences. Because the legislature has seen fit to charge retailers – also known as consumers – a 75% tax rate on purchases, this will inevitably increase the black-market for marijuana never seen since prohibition. This onerous rate of taxation will drive purchasers into the hands of street dealers as never before. It will take nothing for black-marketeers to undersell the retail market. Once buyers understand how high prices are in stores and how much lower they will be on the street, it will take nothing for them to spend their money on far cheaper product. Add to that the attitudes of law enforcement which will now chase after different crimes because marijuana laws will be so much more difficult to prosecute, and police just won’t care. I had one Seattle Police Department sergeant tell me they were instructed to cease marijuana arrests, at least until everything was able to shake out. Mark my words folks. Once street dealers see how much more they can make undercutting legitimate retailers, more and more will pop up considering how lax overall arrests for marijuana will become. The greedy state will pay for this fiasco of ridiculous taxation.

          • suzanne

            I don’t watch TV and only just started watching “Breaking Bad”, all episodes, on Netflix DVDs. I wanted to agree with the discussion we’ve been having, but I think, given what you say, Heywood, that what will wind up happening is “low end” products will flood the black market (like bad meth) and ultimately someone will be poisoned….offering a product that has not been “inspected”…like underground hooch during prohibition…except that alcohol is so inexpensive there isn’t a market to make subgrade stuff. Harleylever makes a good argument that kids will use it anyway, but if what they wind up using is poisonous, then how do you deal with that?

          • harleylever

            I couldn’t agree more. Instead of creating a system which would lower the price and kill the black market, they are reducing the supply and putting a 75% + sales tax on it. The most astonishing aspect for me is the fact that their very own consultants came back and told them that their market size estimates were 600% larger than previously estimated. What does the liquor board do? Nothing, they continue to constrain the market which they will likely create massive disruptions in the supply-chain and retail stores will be starved of product. They truly have an opportunity to help create a world-wide industry with thousands of businesses, tens of thousands of jobs, and billions more in taxes. We could be the leaders of hemp, medical cannabis, and recreations cannabis, but instead we will let another industry prosper elsewhere.

          • harleylever

            To answer your point about Marijuana being a gateway drug, modern science points to there not being a “Gateway Drug Phenomenon”. What it does say is that using marijuana as a kid is a behavioral indicator for someone who will likely use cocaine or harder drugs. This means, even in a society completely devoid of marijuana, a person with a predisposition to reckless and addictive behavior, will likely try cocaine and harder drugs simply due to their behavioral disposition.

          • suzanne

            the logic is not there on this one, Harley. Everyone has a predisposition to act out in anger, but not everyone is handed a gun when they are angry…except for people who keep guns at home, and I hope they are the first to get shot with them. I go back to my first argument: I don’t want someone killing me when I’m out driving because he is loaded on drugs, alcohol or anything else. He can kill himself in his own life and his own home. A predisposition for reckless and addictive behavior does not automatically present itself in the absence of the drug. Someone without self control doesn’t automatically become a cocaine addict without some introduction making it easier…and alcohol is what has currently been “easier” before further drug entry. So now it will be easy to access pot. But alcohol has a history of being regulated, inspected, and made into a product you can get at Costco. The populous already sets a low bar for their kids on this one. Since alcohol is abused… pot will be too, the easier it is to get. It actually seems just more sensible to not have it so available, and to admit that it is a societal weakness, just like alcohol abuse. I drink moderately, so I am not being holier than thou about it…but don’t pretend that easy access marijuana won’t result in more kids trying what is next. Almost every kid sees alcohol in some form at home. Adding pot in some form won’t exactly make things better for kids. I was ok with medicinal, but it is just going to be another thing that wrecks people’s lives…not everyone has self control, as the public figures you pointed out.

          • harleylever

            Suzanne, again, the science does not support the idea of a “gateway drug”… “War on Drug” scare tactics do. The other issue is that all drugs are already widely available. This idea that regulating an industry will make them more available is false. The difference is that the new system will have government oversight, a system, for preventing children from getting it, and generate a heavy tax base to help combat abuse. When is the last time you called and “Alcohol Drug Dealer”? When was the last time you heard about an alcohol drug cartel gunning-down dozens of people? Here is an article from Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He dispels many of the assertions you make. http://www.chron.com/technology/businessinsider/article/9-Reasons-Why-Sanjay-Gupta-Changed-His-Mind-About-4726916.php

          • suzanne

            good article. Last question: Alcohol is regulated and no one needs to buy possibly lethally altered alcohol because it is a monitored, legal product. Will the same be true of marijuana…i.e. will each batch be tested to make sure it is safe from additives (like the kind that are added to cigarettes, which make them more lethal, and of course it took years to get warnings on those boxes)? Pure marijuana may be one thing, but will there be, as I asked, a regulatory inspection of marijuana that is sold so it isn’t laced with stuff to extend it, etc.

          • harleylever

            Hi Suzanna, Great question. Yes, all marijuana and marijuana products have to be tested by a 3rd party testing lab. They will test for chemical and biological contaminants as well as THC, CBD, and CBN levels. This is a big deal because as it stands now, Mexican cartel growers as well as black market growers in the US can use any chemical they want and nobody would know. Mandatory 3rd party testing of each batch will provide health and safety standards. Here is a link to a 3rd party lab used by Washington State. http://analytical360.com/

          • suzanne

            I never thought I’d have an intelligent discussion with anyone on this subject who didn’t fit all the stereotypes I began with. I believe the doctor link, and I believe the lab link. I think now it is no big deal. I still think that any mind altering drug in the hands of kids is trouble, but they obviously get it anyway…and if under the new laws it is regulated and tested for safety, while I wouldn’t use it myself, I understand why you support it.

          • harleylever

            Thanks Suzanne. I really appreciate the discussion. I too had many of the previous sentiments. This is all we have seen in our media, so we learned what we were taught… we are good students! :) I completely agree about taking every measure to keep it out of the hands of children. The science supports brain development in healthy adolescents reaches full-potential when it is free of intoxicants and chemicals. I predict Hemp and CBD Cannabis (devoid of THC, the intoxicant) will become far more lucrative industries than recreational. Hemp competes in over $11 trillion in industries and can produce 25,000 distinct products with a much lower carbon footprint. For me, this is the true benefit of legalizing cannabis. I would encourage you to look into cannabis and fighting cancer. There are scores of peer-reviewed articles showing cannabis as a powerful tumor inhibitor and in some cases kills cancer, by reintroducing the chemicals that cause normal cells to die (apoptosis). Nih.gov has several of these medical studies. Thanks again Suzanne have a great week!

          • suzanne

            You keep bringing up more interesting points. Normal brain development in healthy adolescents who use cannabis when it is free of intoxicants is kind of like saying drinking alcohol free beer. The intoxicants, or the “effects” of the weed are why people use it, otherwise they’d smoke straw. I think the fact that it may impede brain development may be a small factor considering the medical benefits it would have, or (if the science proves it) may not affect brain development in adults. Don’t have the time for the medical articles, but I’ll take your word for a synopsis of them: does intoxicant free weed still give people the “high” they are seeking? Does it still kill cancer? If the intoxicant is what the kids seek, or what does the medical benefit, then the studies that show that marijuana use impede brain development in youth may be true?

        • harleylever

          suzanne, a couple last thoughts. I would think of recreational marijuana usage much like recreational wine usage. After work you may enjoy a glass of wine/bowl (pipe bowl) of pot or two. On the weekends at a party with friends you share a wine bottle/joint around a fire. Sometimes there is nothing better than drinking a glass of wine/smoking a bowl next to a river while taking in the beauty of nature. Lastly, thanks so much for asking questions and at least be opened to hearing an opinion different than your own… completely refreshing. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    • KDrexel

      I am not sure I support a grow operation near my neighborhood, until pot is legalized at a Federal and National Statewide level. I suspect in the near future we will be hearing about how one of these grow operations were broken into and how millions of dollars’ worth of pot is now out there on the streets. I really wish our state would have thought this through a little more before legalizing.

      • harleylever

        I think the Washingtonians did do their research. We have 50+ years of a failed war on drugs which we have spent hundreds of billions on and we have nothing to show for it. Drugs are everywhere. The Sinola Drug cartel slaughters thousands of people a year in Mexico to push marijuana over the borders. We have criminal enterprises dealing to our kids, not paying taxes, and funding more criminal enterprises. This has been the stratus quo for decades. On top of this, we spend billions more housing drug addicts and small-time drug dealers in prison to the tune of $50,000/inmate. Washingtonians are asking the state to form a legal cannabis system that will drive criminal enterprises out of business, create a regulated system that better protects our kids and communities, produces tax revenues which can be used for the greater good, while reducing our prison costs. These facilities are mandated to have heavy security and cameras.

        • KDrexel

          Well, now that criminals can deal to our children legally and pay taxes, I guess that makes it okay! Thanks for clearing that up Harely! And I guess now that drugs are legal, there will be no more billions spent on housing drug addicts. Afterall, we don’t put drunk drivers in jail, do we? And as long as the facilities have security and cameras, I guess that is good enough. After all, gun shops don’t get robbed (and they have similar security) and those guns are not released to the streets, are they Harley? I am glad you thought all of this out.

          • harleylever

            I think you are completely ignoring the fact that the law is set up so that only 21 AND OLDER can purchase cannabis legally…. children cannot legally purchase cannabis, so stop with the hyperbole. Your assertions are completely false. I know dozens of cannabis entrepreneurs and none of them have a criminal background and most of them are proven business people who see a tremendous opportunity to build a legitimate business. The system is set up where most “Criminals” will have a difficult time legitimizing… they have to provide tax return information and criminal history information. I did not hear anyone calling for making “Homes for Drug Addicts”…. again, stop with the hyperbole. Drug addicts belong in rehab, not prison, where the costs are double that of a rehab facility. You completely ignore the fact that there are illegal drugs on the street everywhere due to the FAILED WAR ON DRUGS. So you want to continue to spend billions/year on a failed policy… if we spent trillions/year and still failed, would you be happy? Children are most likely to get their hands first on drugs from your medicine cabinet… should we make prescription drugs illegal and arrest parents for not properly securing their prescriptions? Criminals are criminals and will steal what they want. How many liquor trucks have you heard being stolen? Once the industry is established, prices are dropped, the criminals will go elsewhere, because cannabis will no longer be lucrative.

          • suzanne

            Again, a terrific and detailed reply. So could you address my question? Since narcotics can be altered, will the marijuana that is sold, and presumably used by kids who find it in their parents house, as is now the case with liquor, be inspected like other agricultural products? If someone can die from a bad dose of heroin, what is to keep someone from getting a base dose of pot? I just assume that if parents buy it and use it, then their kids will too…just like tobacco use or alcohol use. So what regulatory agency will inspect pot and keep dealers from tampering with it?

  • thatgirlkelly

    Thanks for vouching for the safety of our families and children!