How can you, as a cannabis consumer, ensure you choose the best product? With the i502 industry rapidly growing and many rules still being set, it’s extremely important that we keep consumers updated on any new information and maintain transparency. That’s why we started Education Hour at Mary Mart, to impart what we’ve learned to the community so consumers can better navigate the market.
Inaugural Education Hour Led by Steve Schecterle of Fairwinds
Our first Education Hour with Steve Schechterle of Fairwinds was illuminating. Steve shared a lot of useful information regarding both the law and the cannabis industry. In this post, we’ll cover some of the important points he touched upon. To make sure you get the most from our Education Hour sessions, however, make sure to mark them on your calendar!
Stressed by High Cannabis Taxes?
The i502 law, Steve pointed out, can be confusing, especially for a consumer who isn’t involved in the industry. Many, though, have noticed the incredibly high taxes. This excess in tax doesn’t go to the producer, processors, or store owners. In fact, each retailer is charged a 38% sales tax, which trickles down to the product price tag, leaving the state to gain the most revenue.
Issues with LCB Regulations
Aside from tax, one of the biggest hurdles the industry is facing is the Liquor Control Board (LCB) regulations. When the i502 bill was written, the section on LCB regulation was intentionally vague to allow the market to develop as the state saw fit. This has created mass confusion and unnecessary violations since each violation is based on the judgment of an employee rather than on fixed requirements. Further, there are no required cannabis education prerequisites for LCB officers. To ensure that these regulations are applied evenly and fairly, the LCB needs set procedures and processes.
When it comes to regulating advertising, retailers are allowed three violations before a license revocation. Because there are no guidelines on what can be included in advertising, this makes it difficult for retailers to communicate what their products are to consumers. In turn, consumers’ risk of misusing products is increased.
Steve Schechterle noted some companies, such as Fairwinds, use other herbal supplements in their products which can be incompatible with certain modern medications. Advertising regulations, however, prohibit these companies from explaining this. To ensure their products won’t interfere with popular medications, Fairwinds has all their products checked by doctors and their chemistry team. For example, Fairwinds does not use potentially dangerous herbs like St. John’s Wort because they may interfere with popular medications like birth control. However, other company’s supplements may use such herbs, so be sure to educate yourself! Steve also mentioned that patients should always speak to a medical professional before changing their supplements or medications.
In addition, since legalization, cannabis cannot be referred to by retailers as medicinal. For a non-medical consumer using cannabis for wellness purposes, this makes it difficult to find appropriate products. By learning about these regulations, you’ll know how to best work around them.
As the consumer, this means disclosing to your budtender as much information as possible about your needs, unless you know which product is best for you. Topics to disclose should include current cannabis consumption levels, past cannabis experience, preference in consumption, and any current medication regimens.
Cannabis Testing in Washington
Another important area to stay informed about is cannabis testing. Testing in this state lacks reliability and doesn’t guarantee that cannabis is clean or at the labeled potency level. Plus, the state doesn’t require producer processors to test for pesticides, heavy metals, or residual solvents. In fact, the state allows up to 5,000 parts per million (ppm) of residual solvents in concentrate. Current scientific data shows that you can breathe up to 10,000ppms of butane for 10 straight minutes, which would only result in some fatigue. The issue becomes when consumers regularly use products that have levels of residual solvents.
To avoid this, consumers should look for DOH-certified edible, flower, and topical products. Unfortunately, concentrates cannot hold this certification. However, Steve Schechterle mentioned all Fairwinds concentrates used in their products produced negative testing results, ensuring no residual solvents.
Fairwinds is also partnering with CannaGx — a new tool that can determine each consumer’s genetic cannabis report based on their unique endocannabinoid system. This revolutionary tool will help further cannabis knowledge in the industry and allow consumers to find their best THC:CBD ratio.
Check Out Our Next Education Hour on Dec. 21st
Having just passed the four-year mark since cannabis legalization, it’s increasingly important to stay informed. That’s why we’ll be holding Education Hour at Mary Mart every month; don’t miss the next one scheduled for December 21st at 4:20 pm! Visit our events page to keep up with our events and the next Education Hour!