Monday, April 14, 2014

Questions for the CannaBiz panel of marijuana experts

Posted By and on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 6:21 PM

The panelists, from left: Hilary Bricken, Matt Cohen and Randy Simmons.
  • The panelists, from left: Hilary Bricken, Matt Cohen and Randy Simmons.

This Wednesday evening the Inlander is hosting a panel discussion about the marijuana market taking form in Washington state. The three panelists are all experts in different areas of the industry:

Hilary Bricken, who we profiled in last year’s Work Issue, is an attorney known for specializing in the legal issues surrounding marijuana.

Matt Cohen, a well-known advocate in the medical marijuana movement, had his farm in California raided by the feds in 2011 and has since consulted with the Washington State Liquor Control Board on I-502 production issues.

Randy Simmons is the deputy director of the state’s Liquor Control Board, who’s been leading research teams as the state figures out how to set up and operate a legal marijuana market.

The forum will include questions from the audience, which is good — for every known fact about how recreational marijuana will work in Washington state, there are still dozens of questions about how it will all turn out. Here are some of our questions for the panelists:

• Some have said much of Colorado's success establishing a recreational market has come from the state already having a well-established medical system. Do you think Washington will suffer in that regard because our medical market, especially in Eastern Washington, is more volatile and unregulated?

• The Legislature failed to pass medical marijuana reform this year, to the relief of some medical marijuana advocates. Do you think we'll see medical marijuana reform in Washington in coming years? Do you have ideas for how best to treat the two markets — can they co-exist or should they be integrated?

• In terms of the price of recreational marijuana, should we expect high costs in the beginning due to novelty and demand? When should we expect that market to stabilize and produce the price of cannabis that will last? What will it take to bring the price to a level low enough to eradicate the black market?

• What changes do you expect in terms of the cultural identity of marijuana? Will we see traditional "stoner culture" fade away in favor of boutique/craft/artisan businesses?

• Do you anticipate marijuana tourism being a boon for the state? What will individual cities need to do to become destinations?

• Drivers from Washington and Colorado have accused Idaho law enforcement of profiling them as potential marijuana smugglers. Should Washingtonians crossing state lines be concerned? Will this difference in laws cause problems with neighboring states?

• What have we learned so far from Washington and Colorado? What advice would you give to other states or citizens starting the initiative process?

CannaBiz Forum • Wed, April 16 at 7 pm • Free • Bing Crosby Theater • 901 W. Sprague Ave.

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