Marijuana farmer Randy Williams, left, stands with Cesar Munoz in front of his marijuana plants on Fireweed Farm in Prosser, Wash., in this undated photo. Williams is auctioning off his plants on Saturday.
(Photo: Courtesy of Andre Dayani)
Nov 13, 2014
USA Today - A Washington state farmer is selling off a ton of marijuana — literally 2,000 pounds worth — to the highest bidder in one of the first large-scale legal pot auctions in modern American history.
On Saturday, Randy Williams of Fireweed Farm in Prosser, Wash., will offer for sale the marijuana he's been growing all summer. Most legal marijuana in Colorado and Washington, the only states with legal recreational marketplaces, is grown indoors under electricity-hogging lights in much smaller batches.
"It's like regular farming — you grow in the spring and summer, harvest in the fall and then you go to Cabo for the winter," joked Greg James, publisher of the industry magazine Marijuana Venture.
James has been helping Williams advertise the sale. Under Washington's marijuana law, only state-certified processors and retailers can buy Williams' crop, and he's not allowed to sell it directly to consumers.
Washington's law separates growers, processors and retailers, while store owners in Colorado often grow most of their own marijuana, which means there's no need to auction it off.
Washington also permits medical marijuana
, but that system is far less structured and operates in much more of a regulatory gray area.
Washington's recreational sales only began this summer, and stores have been plagued with marijuana supply shortages. In Seattle, for instance, Cannabis City resorted to flying a flag outside whenever it had high-quality marijuana available for sale.
Washington retailers have been eagerly awaiting the outdoor harvest, which has the potential to drive down prices by significantly increasing supply.
Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., also legalized recreational marijuana in elections this month, but none of them yet have a functioning marketplace where buyers pay taxes on their purchases.