Harvesting the Spirit of Cannabis in the Pacific Northwest — Page 2
Story and photos by Becky Garrison

Tom house

This laid-back atmosphere present at Garden of the Green Sun belies the frenzy surrounding the legalization of recreational cannabis in Washington State. In a manner not seen since the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897, I'm observing fortune seekers flock to the Pacific Northwest hoping to mine the area's resources. In both rushes, one finds local merchants offering homemade wares alongside robber barons selling snake oil.

Yet when I traveled around the Pacific Northwest to explore this madness to capitalize on cannabis, I felt the gentle spirit of Farmer Tom speaking to me through a number of cannabis entrepreneurs I encountered. While one cannot be unaware of the fortunes to be made in this field, they seemed to be on a higher mission to heal.

Secret Soda

For example, Cannabis Basics founder Ah Warner creates award-winning topical medicinals and educates others about the healing power of cannabis. In a similar vein, when Trista Okel founded her company Empower Oil to sell her cannabis oil and soaking salts, the original meaning of "Empower" stood for "End Marijuana Prohibition Organize Women Enact Reform." As legal recreational cannabis spreads, Cecilia Sivertson, a styling Nana who founded Nana's Secret Soda to treat her epilepsy, plans to franchise her product. Also, Alison Draisin, CEO and Founder of Ettalew's Medibles plans to address the rise in requests for her medical treats infused with cannabis by franchising her products as well.

Even Farmer Tom, author of The Cannabis Consumer's Guide, a book highly revered within the cannabis community, has gotten into the marketing act. His likeness can be found on a limited series of trading cards, and there's a deal to create a full-line of Farmer Tom branded cannabis products. Yet when one is around these locals, I don't feel the frantic nature to "make it big" that I observed among some of those moving in to Washington State and Oregon seeking their fortune. Something tells me those locals imbued with the Pacific Northwest's homegrown spirit and business savvy of Farmer Tom and these Women of Weed will be around for the long haul once the Klondike 2.0 Gold Rush subsides.


For more info:

Here's a listing of resources to help acquaint those coming to the Pacific Northwest in search of legal adult-use cannabis.

National Cannabis Industry Association - The only national trade association advancing the interests of the legitimate and responsible cannabis industry.

WA State Liquor Control Board FAQs re I-502 - A must read before venturing to WA State to keep one apprised regarding the latest rules and regulations.

Oregon Cannabis Industry Association - Focus on Oregon's growing cannabis industry while implementing responsible business practices that work for all Oregonians.

Leafly- Cannabis information resource providing reviews of dispensaries, doctors, and stores as well as reviews of marijuana strains, cannabis products other related information.

WeedMaps - Search tool to find dispensaries, delivery services and deals in one's neighborhood.

Becky Garrison is the author of Jesus Died for This? and a panelist for The Washington Post's On Faith column. Other writing credits include work for The Guardian, Killing the Buddha, Religion Dispatches, and US Catholic. When she takes a break from her laptop, Becky can often be found kayaking, fly-fishing, biking or hiking.

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Related stories:

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A Marvelous Trance in the Highlands of Fiji by Bruce Northam
Exploring my Pilgrim Past at Plymouth by Becky Garrison

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