Bud Tender's Corner: Washington's Grand Transition

Bud Tender Rachel Grimsley

     The state of Washington has begun the grand transition from individually-run medical and recreational dispensaries into joint businesses intended to cater to both types of customers. All medical facilities have been closed effective July 1,  2016, and growing cooperatives may only operate at a four-person limit. Many medical patients have been left searching for a better understanding of the progression of changes in Washington’s laws surrounding the legality of production, purchase and consumption of cannabis.
     When Initiative 692 was passed in 1998, laws defining possession, use, and cultivation of medical marijuana left much to be desired. After much deliberation, multiple amendments were made to the original law in State Ballots 5798 and 5073. Soon after, collectives, cooperatives and farmer’s markets were opening their doors to make it possible for medical patients with proper authorization to purchase cannabis. Initiative 502 was introduced in 2012 and officially implemented in 2014, legalizing the processing, sales and use of cannabis for recreational purposes. Medical and recreational shops ran separately statewide, compliant to considerably different regulations. It was only a matter of time before Washington’s legislative system took the next step toward creating a more effective arrangement for monitoring, regulating and taxing unregulated cannabis sales from the medical industry.
     As of July 1, 2016, recreational stores with medical endorsements will have the opportunity to sell larger quantities of higher-dosage products to patients with sales tax exemption. At least one staff member on shift must go through intensive training and certification to provide medical patients with the help that they need, which is one of the reasons that the transition into medical is taking longer than expected in many businesses. Patients entered into the authorization database will receive a recognition card and may purchase up to three times the current legal limit that recreational customers are allowed. Patients will also have the right to access high-THC products such as edibles containing more than 10 mg per serving. Any falsified medical cards or paperwork can be charged as a felony offense. If being registered in a database doesn’t appeal to the patient, the recreational laws in place still give consumers over the age of 21 the opportunity to purchase products with sales tax intact. This also allows the patient to grow no more than four plants. For patients who require frequent use or higher dosages, four plants may not produce as much medicine as needed, making the available stores their only option.
     For many other patients who don’t have the time, space, or means to grow their own cannabis, the shops are a haven for finding all of the edibles, topicals, concentrates and flower products they could possibly imagine! With an increased public interest in the medicinal qualities of CBD and other cannabinoids, stores statewide have begun ramping up their selection to meet consumer demand. Budtenders are expected to have an exceptional amount of knowledge on the subject, bringing a new level of professionalism and expertise to the job. Understanding the effects of different cannabinoids in different dosages is incredibly important to help medical patients, but this knowledge also readily applies to any and all customers in search of a certain type of high or flavor profile. Budtenders suggest that medical patients try CO2 extracted concentrates or rosin for the most natural and powerful effect, or edibles and topicals to avoid ingesting smoke. (These recommendations are also what many responsible budtenders would give to both first time and seasoned recreational users.) Smoking flower is a great option for organically inclined customers, but it isn’t always fully effective in accessing all of the potential medicinal effects. Being a budtender now entails much more than doling out the tastiest bud. It’s about helping the adult public gain access to the natural and versatile products they desire or require.

     Seeing the progression of cannabis throughout history in Washington, it’s unclear how the medical transition process will pan out. Many patients believe they should receive additional discounts to make their medicine more financially accessible. Others are highly satisfied with the switch and are dedicated supporters of their local businesses. Some users have expressed discomfort with the database requirements and have opted out of renewing their medical licenses at all. Only time will tell whether pricing and products improve satisfactorily for medical purposes but, at the current level thatWashington’s businesses are preparing, there seems to be a lot of potential for the future cannabis community.
     Times the current legal limit that recreational customers are allowed. Patients will also have the right to access high-THC products such as edibles containing more than 10 mg per serving. Any falsified medical cards or paperwork can be charged as a felony offense.
     If being registered in a database doesn’t appeal to the patient, the recreational laws in place still give consumers over the age of 21 the opportunity to purchase products with sales tax intact. This also allows the patient to grow no more than four plants. For patients who require frequent use or higher dosages, four plants may not produce as much medicine as needed, making the available stores their only option.
For many other patients who don’t have the time, space, or means to grow their own cannabis, the shops are a haven for finding all of the edibles, topicals, concentrates and flower products they could possibly imagine! With an increased public interest in the medicinal qualities of CBD and other cannabinoids, stores statewide have begun ramping up their selection to meet consumer demand.
     Budtenders are expected to have an exceptional amount of knowledge on the subject, bringing a new level of professionalism and expertise to the job. Understanding the effects of different cannabinoids in different dosages is incredibly important to help medical patients, but this knowledge also readily applies to any and all customers in search of a certain type of high or flavor profile.
     Budtenders suggest that medical patients try CO2 extracted concentrates or rosin for the most natural and powerful effect, or edibles and topicals to avoid ingesting smoke. (These recommendations are also what many responsible budtenders would give to both first time and seasoned recreational users.)
     Smoking flower is a great option for organically inclined customers, but it isn’t always fully effective in accessing all of the potential medicinal effects. Being a budtender now entails much more than doling out the tastiest bud. It’s about helping the adult public gain access to the natural and versatile products they desire or require.
     Seeing the progression of cannabis throughout history in Washington, it’s unclear how the medical transition process will pan out. Many patients believe they should receive additional discounts to make their medicine more financially accessible. Others are highly satisfied with the switch and are dedicated supporters of their local businesses.
     Some users have expressed discomfort with the database requirements and have opted out of renewing their medical licenses at all. Only time will tell whether pricing and products improve satisfactorily for medical purposes but, at the current level thatWashington’s businesses are preparing, there seems to be a lot of potential for the future cannabis community.