Adam Stites: Let’s celebrate legalization history

Adam Stites, owner of Mirth Provisions in Longview, sent us some of his thoughts as we approach the first week of legal marijuana sales in Washington state. What do you all think of this historic occasion?

I-502 Celebration
By Adam Stites, Mirth Provisions LLC

Adam Stites
Adam Stites

On Monday, July 7th, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) plans to grant as many as 20 licenses to prospective cannabis retailers.

And once they open their shop doors, which could be as soon as the next day, Initiative 502 will at last be in full effect.

Both financially and culturally, the long-term implications of marijuana legalization in Washington remain to be seen.

As a variety of sources have noted, Washington, even before our big sell date, is in the midst of a cannabis supply and demand problem. The demand for marijuana is there, but as of right now the supply is not.

In certain ways this is a good thing. Unlike Colorado, Washington is taking the legalization process slower in terms of growing, licensing and retailing.

Our state wants necessary regulations in place before the commerce angle comes into play. And as the licensed owner of a recreational cannabis production company, this cautious approach makes sense to me.

It’s important to remember that I-502 exists on a five-year plan; the WSLCB explicitly references that time frame in their 502 guidelines.

In other words, legal marijuana is here to stay for at least these first five years.

And when Randy Simmons, the WSLCB’s marijuana project manager, states that Washington is initially in for a “bumpy road” with regards to retailer sold marijuana, I’m not worried. After being traveled on for a bit, bumpy roads inevitably smooth out.

(Adam Stites is the founder of Mirth Provisions, a marijuana processor in Longview, WA.)
(Adam Stites is the founder of Mirth Provisions, a marijuana processor in Longview, WA.)

Of course, no one can predict the future of Washington’s legalized marijuana market. We might have early supply issues, early pricing complications.

But I believe that rather than lament our state’s 502-related challenges, we should instead celebrate the initiative’s impending actuality.

Cannabis is a plant that has been illegal in the United States for decades, and on Tuesday we’ll be able to purchase it in stores, legally.

Let’s celebrate that our state has decriminalized a plant that has been used medically and recreationally throughout the world for thousands of years.

Let’s celebrate that our government has granted us the freedom to choose for ourselves whether or not to enjoy marijuana.

Let’s celebrate the economic revitalization potentially in store for our state through the recreational cannabis industry.

When I-502 was first introduced to Washingtonians in November 2012, it passed by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent – that’s nearly 15 percent of the vote, a fairly exceptional referendum.

Furthermore, voter turnout for the 2012 election was subsequently placed at 81.25 percent of all registered Washington voters. That was the highest voter turnout in the United States in 2012 by a landslide, and it was driven by our citizens’ desire for marijuana policy reform.

The passing of I-502 was a victory for progressive thinkers both in Washington and across the country, and now that landmark decision is coming to fruition.

Are there still retailer and supply-demand kinks to be worked out? Definitely.

But it’s my belief that, fairly quickly, they will be worked out.

This week, I’d like to celebrate what we as a state have already accomplished. Cannabis is legal in Washington and that’s something to rejoice in.