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State cannabis sellers want the Legislature to allow broader CBD sales and make other reforms - December 11, 2018

"Vicki Christophersen, executive director and lobbyist for the Washington CannaBusiness Association, recently briefed the media on the group’s legislative agenda for the coming session. 'We feel this is a pivotal year,” she told reporters on the call Dec. 5. In the years since legalization, “we’ve learned a lot, and we’re ready to take this comprehensive agenda to the Legislature.'" - Tacoma News-Tribune

No Bright Colors, but Pot Candy Still Legal in Washington State - December 6, 2018

"'There will be more clarity on what is allowed in terms of shapes and colors, but no particular product or type of product will be banned, as it was previously stated,' said Vicki Christophersen, the executive director of the Washington CannaBusiness Association." - The Stranger

Washington State Might Be Reversing Their Pot Candy Ban, Baby! - November 30, 2018

"I spoke with Aaron Pickus, a spokesperson for WACA, and he said the organization had been briefed by LCB staff this morning about the new proposed rules. Pickus declined to offer any details but said the updated policy moved in 'a good direction.' 'LCB staff briefed us this morning with their current thinking for an interim policy decision. Their next step will be bringing that to the board for their review and consideration,' Pickus said. 'Following our briefing from staff, we think things are going in a very positive direction. We expect to hear formally from the LCB either today or Monday.' The cannabis industry has been fighting against the LCB’s proposed ban on all infused candies since the state unexpectedly announced the plan in early October. Industry groups called the LCB’s ban 'arbitrary and sudden' and called the state to 'immediately rescind' the proposed ban. The industry groups gained the support of four influential state legislators and then the LCB caved and said they would pause for thirty days while they reevaluated the ban. Friday’s announcement said that the LCB’s staff presented a proposal to the LCB Board earlier this week. The board then directed the agency’s staff to include more of the comments from the public health community in the proposed rules." - The Stranger

Mitch McConnell’s Farm Bill Could Blow Up the CBD Market - November 28, 2018

"[Seth Goldberg, a partner and the head of the cannabis practice at the Philadelphia law firm Duane Morris], who is watching the Farm Bill for a trade group of West Coast pot businesses called the Western Regional Cannabis Business Alliance [co-founded by WACA], said the hemp legalization measures appear to have support from both Republicans and Democrats. 'The bill seems to have bipartisan support and there is no indication that it will not be included in the 2018 Farm Bill when it passes,' Goldberg said." - The Stranger

Marijuana edible makers fret as Washington considers crackdown - November 2, 2018

"'It was a bombshell,' said Andy Brassington, chief operating officer of cannabis processor Evergreen Herbal, whose phone started buzzing right after the Oct. 3 announcement."

"Washington CannaBusiness Association Executive Director Vicki Christophersen called for “a system of predictability' that could make the current rules and guidelines seem less arbitrary. 'Members just want to know what the rules are and have them clearly laid out to know what is and is not allowed,' she said."

"[Jamie Hoffman of Craft Elixirs and WACA member] now makes 120,000 of the vegan, gluten-free chews from real fruit each month, but she fears losing the entire line. Hoffman said she wouldn’t have the money to start over on a new product again. 'I’m really proud of what we created,” she said. “If this ruling sticks, it is going to be heartbreaking.'" - Puget Sound Business Journal [cover story]

Adults can do better keeping pot edibles that look like treats from children - October 31, 2018

"Vicki Christophersen, executive director of the Washington Cannabusiness Association, says the entire industry wants to partner with the Liquor and Cannabis Board to strengthen and clarify state regulations about edibles to improve safety and prevent an all-out ban. She says they are willing to follow the rules, but they need more specifics about what is allowed and what isn’t. That sounds like a very adult approach to improvement in this young industry." - Seattle Times Editorial Board

Pot Industry Asks for Transparent Candy Rules - October 30, 2018

"Many of the recommendations from the three industry groups—the Washington CannaBusiness Association, the Cannabis Alliance, and the Cannabis Organization of Retail Establishments—are centered around asking the state to clearly spell out what is and isn't allowed. They want the state to publish a list of what shapes, colors, and advertising words are allowed and not allowed on candy products. The LCB has not been this clear in the past." - The Stranger

Washington Pot Businesses Unite to Oppose Candy Ban - October 10, 2018

"Their statement called the opposition a 'first-of-its-kind joint statement.' In addition to the public statement, the three groups wrote a direct letter to the LCB calling the recent ban on candy products, which the LCB has previously approved, 'arbitrary and sudden.' 'No regulated industry can survive when regulatory activity is unpredictable. Additionally, the manner in which the LCB handled this issue creates an impression of noncompliance that is utterly unwarranted and untrue,' according to the letter shared with The Stranger by a spokesperson for WACA." - The Stranger

Cannabis Industry Calls on State Regulators to Reconsider Infusions Ban - October 9, 2018

In an unprecedented joint statement, the Washington CannaBusiness Association, The Cannabis Alliance and the Cannabis Organization of Retail Establishments urge regulators to return to sound policymaking for regulated marketplace.

"Given our history of cooperation and collaboration with the LCB, we were surprised and disappointed  by the LCB’s abrupt, unilateral decision to ban previously LCB-approved cannabis-infused sweetened products. The success of the regulated marketplace depends on sound policymaking and data-driven rules that support its viability and uphold expected safeguards for kids and the public."

Washington could weed out certain pot edibles - October 5, 2018

"'It was an unwarranted surprise to the industry,' said [WACA member] Andy Brassington, the Chief Operating Officer of Evergreen Herbal, a manufacturer of cannabis infused edibles. 'It would be most unfortunate for the consumers and the patients in the state of Washington that are eligible and firmly entitled to have these legal products,' said Brassington." - KING 5

No more lies: Banks and credit unions take a risk to serve the budding legal marijuana industry - August 16, 2018

"[WACA member] Salal’s assets have grown from $262.5 million to around $594.7 million since the credit union started serving marijuana businesses, though not all of the growth is linked to the cannabis industry."

"[WACA board president] Jim Mullen, co-founder of the Herbery marijuana retail store, is a Salal customer. He’s had trouble with financial institutions, like when ADP terminated his account once they found out his Vancouver-based business sold marijuana, he said. '(Salal) saved our bacon,' Mullen said. 'We send a lot of people to them.'" - Puget Sound Business Journal

Cannabis industry helped Arlington bounce back from recession - July 29, 2018

[Guest column co-authored by Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert and Smokey Point Productions Inc. CFO Emily Lade, WACA member]

"Smaller cities in our state are experts in encouraging diverse economic development, especially with the memory of the Great Recession still fresh in our minds. The city of Arlington stands as a powerful model for a different approach than those cities and counties that have continued to resist or ban the regulated cannabis industry from operating." - Puget Sound Business Journal

Marijuana jobs surpass the sawmill as an old timber town pivots to cannabis - July 29, 2018

"[Port of Willapa Harbor Manager Rebecca] Chaffee said the Port of Willapa has 15 leases with marijuana companies, and the industry employs close to 200 people in Raymond, nearly 7 percent of the town’s roughly 3,000 residents. [WACA member] BMF alone employs 83 people. There are 17 active marijuana producers or processors licensed in Pacific County, most of which are in the town of Raymond. Combined, the cannabis companies have become the city’s largest private employer ahead of Weyerhaeuser’s sawmill, Chaffee said. 'That ratio would be like adding a Boeing or something to another city,' Chaffee said. 'The bottom line is the industry has created jobs and contributed to the local economy.'"

"Vicki Christophersen, the executive director of Washington CannaBusiness Association says that impact is replicated in cities all around the state, such as Arlington. Her association says the moratoriums some areas have in place have been a challenge for the industry. While she respects the right to local control, she’s hopeful those jurisdictions will come to recognize the economic impact they are missing out on and expand the geographic footprint of the industry." - Puget Sound Business Journal

Big deals are coming as Washington state's marijuana industry matures - July 29, 2018

Story features WACA members BMF and The Herbery.

"Vicki Christophersen, executive director of the Washington CannaBusiness Association, says the marijuana industry is still maturing. The supply and demand issues, challenging regulatory structure and the fact that the industry is still federally illegal make for a volatile marketplace. 'I don’t think anybody can tell you exactly when things will stabilize or how they will stabilize,' she said. 'We have to remind ourselves,' Christophersen said, 'that we are in a very young industry that is still figuring out its own marketplace.'" - Puget Sound Business Journal

Banking on Bud - July 19, 2018

“'We saw this as one of those golden opportunities that don’t come around very often,' [Salal Credit Union CEO and WACA board member Russ Rosendal] explained. 'When our board was taking the vote to go ahead with this, one of our directors said, ‘I’ve always wanted to be part of a revolution.’ That’s kind of what we feel we are a part of here.'”

LCB visits Spokane for round-table - July 6, 2018

"At an industry round-table in Spokane in early June, Garza and other LCB officials heard concerns and compliments about the existing system and discussed what could be coming in the future at a state and federal level. The event was sponsored by Apex Cannabis and the Washington CannabisBusiness Association." - Spokesman-Review

Landmark legislation introduced by Senators Warren, Gardner to protect state cannabis marketplaces - June 7, 2018

“'We strongly urge our Congressional leaders to support this critical legislation to protect states and Tribal rights as well as the will of voters – regulated, legal cannabis marketplaces are reducing the size of the black market, which makes our communities safer and keeps pot out of the hands of minors,' said WACA board president Jim Mullen and CORE board member Eric Gaston in a joint statement. 'As members of the Western Regional Cannabis Business Alliance, we support cannabis laws, regulations and policies at the regional- and federal-levels of government that uphold the safety, viability and quality of legal state cannabis marketplaces. This bipartisan legislation by Senators Warren and Gardner will help keep our communities safe by respecting the growth of the nascent legal cannabis marketplace that seeks to eliminate the illicit and dangerous black market of the near past.'” - Press Release (.PDF)

Patients could get medical marijuana delivered to their door - April 16, 2018

"'We do have a lot of questions,' said Aaron Pickus, spokesperson for the Washington CannaBusiness Association. 'Studying this in a thoughtful way is a good next step.'" - Everett Herald

NCIA trying to unify state trade associations, but is competition on the horizon? - March 8, 2018

"'We have some different styles as organizations and a different approach to what we all have as the same goal, being federal legislation that at the very least protects states that have chosen to legalize,' said Vicki Christophersen, executive director of the Washington CannaBusiness Alliance, which helped galvanize the WRCBA and also employs the lobbyist in DC." - Marijuana Business Daily

Finding right insurance is key to any marijuana company’s business plan - February 28, 2018

"'Only a small number of carriers underwrite such policies, which can vary in their exclusions, so insurance shoppers need a keen eye when reviewing them,' [WACA Board Vice President Jerry] Derevyanny said. 'Your property coverages are where you’re going to start to see some differences,' he said, 'and the product liability can vary as well, depending on what your business is.'" - Marijuana Business Daily

New Medical Access Fund for Cannabis Patients Wins Federal Approval - February 22, 2018

"Today the Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA) updated the public on its efforts to create a new non-profit to help qualified patients defray the costs of medical cannabis products. The effort, first announced in December 2016, has achieved a key milestone in securing 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service. This will allow contributors to make tax-deductible donations to the program, analogous with non-profit community programs in other health care sectors that provide prescription drug price relief." - Press Release (.PDF)

Still mellow but ready to fight. That’s the state of Washington’s pot industry - January 19, 2018

"As [WACA member] Evergreen Herbal works to grow, the company and others in the industry take a keen interest in whether the state and federal governments work together or continue on separate tracks after Sessions’ January salvo.Clay Hill of the Association of Washington Business spoke Jan. 16 at a committee hearing in Olympia in support of HB 2124, the state pot industry protection measure. He noted if that industry’s revenue stream to the state is threatened, 'then we think there would be an increased risk of further taxes, new taxes, higher taxes on Washington businesses. We’re sort of reliant on this revenue now and it doesn’t make sense to have federal policy potentially undermining our state’s fiscal position.'

A similar message was sent at the same time to Washington, D.C., by the Western Regional Cannabis Business Alliance, which seeks legislative protection from Congress. The marijuana business group wants lawmakers to include language in an appropriations bill to prohibit the Justice Department from spending money to thwart marijuana businesses in states where it is legal. The alliance represents marijuana businesses in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and Arizona.

"Vicki Christophersen, executive director of the Washington CannaBusiness Association, emphasized the depth of the industry and how far it has come in the state since legalization. 'In addition to the excise tax ... we now know that we have we have over 10,000 jobs in the state of Washington through this industry,' she said at the hearing. 'These are your friends, they are your neighbors, they are your constituents, and they’ve invested their lives into fulfilling the will of the voters.'” - Tacoma News-Tribune

KIRO 7's Essex Porter interviews WACA member Andy Brassington on state bill to protect Washington marketplace from federal intervention. WACA executive director also featured - January 16, 2018 


Western Regional Cannabis Business Alliance Launches to Advocate on behalf of Legal Cannabis State Marketplaces - January 16, 2018

“We are honored to join our industry peers in other regulated states’ regulated cannabis industries as we continue to advocate on behalf of Washington’s legal marketplace,” said Jim Mullen, Washington CannaBusiness Board President. “As a member of the Western Regional Cannabis Business Alliance, we will work to support cannabis laws, regulations and policies at the regional- and federal-levels of government that uphold the safety, viability and quality of legal state cannabis marketplaces. We look forward to our members continuing to invest in legal marketplaces created by overwhelming public approval, helping to create tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in state tax revenue.” - Press Release (.PDF)

Letter to Congressional leaders (.PDF)

Bipartisan support to protect safer state legal cannabis marketplaces - January 8, 2018

Bob Keating of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation interviews Aaron Pickus, WACA spokesperson, on bipartisan reaction to AG Sessions rescinding of the Cole Memorandum. - (AUDIO FILE)

Pot industry to Sessions: Really? Calm (mostly) prevails after federal storm - January 5, 2018

"Session’s action is 'truly disappointing, and it ignores the facts of the vibrant, healthy, legal cannabis industry,' [WACA member] Andy Brassington, CFO of Seattle’s Evergreen Herbal, one of the largest processors in the state and whose products can be found in Tacoma shops, told The News Tribune. 'The action also flies in the face of what the American public wants when now more than 60 percent have access to legal product in this country.'" - Tacoma News-Tribune

‘An attack on Seattle’: Washington state officials say they won’t back down on legal pot as Sessions rescinds Obama-era policy. Legal Cannabis Industry Responds to AG Sessions - January 4, 2018

“'We will be working closely with our state and federal regulators to determine impacts, if any, to banking the cannabis industry by this recent news. Until then we continue to serve our members’ banking needs,' President and CEO [and WACA boardmember] Russ Rosendal said.

'As far as we’re concerned, it’s biz as usual,' said Andy Brassington, CFO of Evergreen Herbal, a Seattle pot processor. Brassington was part of a Washington CannaBusiness Association delegation that visited lawmakers in Washington, D.C. last year. Brassington noted that a Gallup poll last fall showed 64 percent of Americans supported legalizing marijuana, a record-high support for the drug.

'It’s just puzzling he would take the position,' Brassington said, referring to Sessions. 'We have a healthy, robust, legal marketplace functioning very well. It’s the will of the people.'” - Seattle Times

Legal Cannabis Industry Responds to AG Sessions - January 4, 2018

“Washington state voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of a legal marketplace in 2012,” said Andy Brassington, Chief Financial Officer for licensed processor Evergreen Herbal in Seattle. “The reality is that individual states across the country have given voters the choice on marijuana and the momentum toward increased legalization is escalating. The result is a highly-regulated, voter-approved marketplace that is delivering economic benefits to state coffers in the hundreds of millions and innovation in the industry benefiting medical patients and non-patient alike. It is unfortunate that Attorney General Sessions would attempt to supersede state’s rights, ignoring public opinion, and the values of many who would protect individual liberties. Legal cannabis is by far safer and superior to allowing black markets to flourish, supporting public safety in our communities and significant tax revenue for our state’s schools, roads and other important priorities.” - Press Release (.PDF)

Cannabis Industry Shares 2018 Legislative, Regulatory Agendas - December 20, 2017

“'We are committed to collaborative conversations with our regulators, lawmakers and policymakers to support a safe, quality-controlled and regulated cannabis marketplace that keeps marijuana out of the hands of minors,' said WACA Board President Jim Mullen. 'Working in concert with leadership in Olympia, our industry has come a long way since voters first approved the legal marketplace in 2012.'”

Click here to view WACA's 2018 Legislative Agenda.

Click here to view WACA's 2018 Regulatory Agenda.

Why It’s Getting Easier for Marijuana Companies to Open Bank Accounts - December 6, 2017

"[WACA Boardmember] John Branch, a Seattle-based lawyer who owns a dispensary, says that fees are typically reasonable for small businesses like his. The fees he pays as a credit union member are in the hundreds of dollars, he said. 'In the scheme of what it costs to run a marijuana business, it’s de minimis.'"

Agency lays out the pros, cons of legalizing home marijuana - December 1, 2017

"'We supported the state doing the study, but our members do not support home grows at this time,' said Aaron Pickus, spokesman for [WACA] whose 70 members include marijuana retailers, processors and growers. 'This is not the time to be loosening regulations while we have a hostile administration in Washington, D.C.'" - Everett Herald

Sticker shock coming with California’s new pot market - November 6, 2017

"'While our members, like any other business sector, would like to see a lower tax rate, we have not seen any evidence that current tax rate is diverting people into the black market,'" Aaron Pickus, a spokesman for the Washington CannaBusiness Association, an industry group, said in an email." - Associated Press

Rough Road Ahead - November 1, 2017

"[WACA board member and Tier 3 producer/processor Jerry Derevyanny] owes part of his state’s success to the Washington CannaBusiness Association. He recommends that California businesses utilize a well-organized coalition trade group to work with the regulators as well. But use tact when attending any meeting of government officials or regulators. 'Without being vitriolic about it, you come in and lay out what the problem is, what you think a reasonable solution is, that addresses their concerns,' Derevyanny said. 'Don’t come in like you’re going to war. Come in like you’re working together.'" - Marijuana Business Magazine

Washington CannaBusiness Association Celebrates Evergreen Herbal Leadership in Marketplace- October 23, 2017

"Today the Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA) applauded the selection of Evergreen Herbal, WACA member, on the Puget Sound Business Journal’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies List in 2017. Evergreen Herbal, an I-502 licensed processor, is based in Seattle and is the only business operating in the legal cannabis marketplace to have earned a spot on this year’s list, ranking as #27 on the annual list." - Press Release (.PDF)

State Debates Future of Growing Weed at Home - October 5, 2017

"Representatives from Numerica Credit Union and Salal Credit Union, two credit unions that are actively banking with the licensed cannabis businesses in Washington, testified against allowing any recreational home grows at all. 'Opening the system to an unlimited amount of potential growers, even if the state’s traceability system is used, increases the potential for minors to obtain cannabis,' said Russell Rosendal, the CEO of Salal Credit Union [and WACA board member]. 'It would certainly make us rethink our ability to service the system if the Cole Memo is revoked.' The Washington CannaBusiness Association, a trade group of licensed cannabis businesses, is also opposed to allowing any recreational home grows. Aaron Pickus, a spokesperson for the Washington CannaBusiness Association, said the trade group’s members have not been supportive of recommending home grows out of fear of provoking a response from the Trump Administration." - The Stranger

Should Washingtonians be allowed to grow recreational pot at home? State wants you to weigh in - September 27, 2017

"'Our members are very concerned about the possibility of loosening regulations to allow the general public to grow cannabis at home,' Aaron Pickus said. Pickus is speaking for The Washington CannaBusiness Association, which represents about 70 marijuana companies. The groups says they are more worried about the feds than any financial impact to the industry. 'Being cautious of what the federal government might do with the current administration that is very skeptical of legal marketplaces,' Pickus said." - Q13 News

State should proceed cautiously with expanding marijuana grows - September 22, 2017

"To this point, allowing grows for recreational purposes has garnered resistance from organizations such as the Washington CannaBusiness Association and Association of Washington Cities. Unless there is an overriding reason to expand grow operations, Washington would be prudent to take it very slow, particularly given this U.S. Justice Department’s views on recreational marijuana." - Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Editorial

Study considers making it legal to grow marijuana at home - September 19, 2017

"'We’re still a very, very young industry. Our priority is supporting the success of the current regulatory framework,' said Aaron Pickus, spokesman for the cannabis group whose 70 members include marijuana retailers, processors and growers. 'Generally speaking, we are erring on the side of implementing what already exists before we open it up further.' Candice Bock, government relations advocate for AWC, said it is a difficult law for cities to enforce. And they are concerned legal home grows can still be a source of conflict among neighbors. 'We take a very cautious approach to home grows and I don’t know that we will be able to support a recreational home grow operation.'" - Everett Herald

Small Pot Farms Are Getting Screwed: The State Made Rules to Help Boutique Growers - But They're Not Working - August, 23, 2017

"To [Vashon Velvet owner and WACA board member Susie] Gress, it shouldn't matter how much total weight she is producing. State regulations allow boutique breweries and wineries to turn a profit even when they are producing a tiny fraction of what large companies produce. Will Washington's legal marketplace be able to support tiny producers like her? That question is still up in the air." - The Stranger

Governor Inslee and Attorney General Ferguson respond to Attorney General Sessions - August 15, 2017

"The State of Washington remains committed to only allowing marijuana activity within a tightly and actively regulated system that complements the federal government’s law enforcement priorities. Like the Department of Justice, we want to discourage youth consumption, avoid dangers to public safety, and prevent the diversion of marijuana to other states." - Letter (.PDF).

Regulated Cannabis Industry Is Working - August 4, 2017

Washington CannaBusiness Association's statement from board member and retail license-holder Jim Mullen regarding the recent communication between Washington State elected officials and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. - Press Release (.PDF)

Washington's Legal Weed Industry Pays Hundreds of Millions in Wages - August 2, 2017

--Click here for the full report-- 

"The report, conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP), found that more than 10,000 people were employed by legal weed businesses in 2016, and legal pot businesses paid almost $300 million in wages during the industry's first two and a half years."

"...the Washington CannaBusiness Association (a trade group of licensed pot businesses), explained that the report showed that legal weed is 'clearly already a major economic force in Washington. Our hope is that this employment report will help demonstrate that our industry is a viable, safe, and well-regulated component of our state's diverse economy.'" - The Stranger

In Our View: Time to Act on Marijuana - July 25, 2017

"Members of Congress should seek to protect industries in states that allow marijuana use and to avoid a costly and counterproductive legal battle between those states and the federal government." - The Columbian, Editorial

Cannabis regulations contribute to thriving market in Washington - June 30, 2017

"It is fitting that the Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA) — the regulated industry’s professional association of cannabis producers, processors and retailers — is helping lead our state’s delegation to Washington, D.C. this month, five years after the passage of Initiative 502." - Puget Sound Business Journal, Guest Column by WACA member Andy Brassington

New Washington state cannabis regulations reflect concern about federal threat - June 29, 2017

"Aaron Pickus, a spokesman for the Washington CannaBusiness Association, didn’t want to overstate the regulators’ focus on protecting the state’s marijuana industry. But he conceded 'there was certainly a change in concern about what the federal government may or may not do regarding the legal cannabis marketplace following the comments made by (the Trump administration).'" - Marijuana Business Daily

Cannabis industry thanks elected leaders for protecting marketplace - April 24, 2017

Cannabis industry thanks elected leaders for protecting marketplace - Press Release (.PDF)

The Credit Unions and Small Banks That Solved the Cannabis Cash Crisis - April 19, 2017

"Canceled accounts would cause a nightmare for every business in legal weed, especially the bigger players in the game, like Northwest Cannabis Solutions, the largest producer and processor of weed in the state by sales. [WACA Boardmember] Jerry Derevyanny, one of the company's executives, said running the enterprise—which has sold $30 million of weed products since it opened in 2014, according to—as an all-cash business would pose many challenges. 'It would be an operational challenge, and it would be a huge setback for us. We have more than 190 full-time employees,' Derevyanny said. 'Doing an all-cash payroll for 190 people is just a little bit crazy, and I really hope it doesn't come to that.'" - The Stranger

Trump Signals That He Wants to Restart the War on Drugs - March 8, 2017

"Aaron Pickus, a spokesperson for the Washington CannaBusiness Association, said the trade group is advising its members to closely follow the state's laws. 'Right now, we are emphasizing how important it is to make sure you are following the rules as set by Washington State,' Pickus said. 'Make sure you are dotting all your i's and crossing all your t's and following best practices to make sure that minors aren't getting into your store.'" - The Stranger

Battle Over Legal Pot - February 24, 2017

KIRO's Senior Political Reporter Essex Porter interviews WACA board member and Ponder retail license holder John Branch - KIRO 7


White House suggests enforcing federal marijuana laws - February 23, 2017

"[Washington Attorney General] Ferguson, who also led the states in challenging Trump's executive order on immigration, noted that he and Gov. Jay Inslee, both Democrats, previously were prepared to defend the state's legal marijuana system against any efforts by President Barack Obama's administration to shut it down. Ferguson and Inslee sent a letter last week to new Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request a meeting on the topic. [WACA board member] John Branch owns Ponder near Union and 24th Avenue in Seattle. He's been selling marijuana there since September 2015. 'I think undoing the will of the people of Washington state would be a big lift,' said Branch." - KING 5 (NBC)

Regulated Cannabis Industry Responds to White House Comments on Federal Marijuana Policy - February 23, 2017

“Washington state voters overwhelmingly approved legalizing a safe, quality-controlled and fully regulated cannabis marketplace. Our members accept and are committed to rigorous enforcement and compliance with state law which goes hand-in-hand with safe communities and a successful marketplace. We recognize that not everyone is convinced that cannabis should be legal. We look forward to continuing our state's leadership as an example of how licensed, regulated cannabis businesses are responsible members of Washington's business community that bring value to state and local economies.” - Official Statement (.PDF)

Gold Leaf Farm: The Closest Thing You Can Find to Organic Weed in Seattle - February 22, 2017

"[WACA board member] Brad Douglass, the scientific director for Bellevue's Werc Shop cannabis lab and a proponent of organic cannabis, said Clean Green certification is a good first step for the industry. 'I think what they're doing is good and useful, but it isn't a stand-in for a state regulated or even a federally regulated program,' Douglass said. 'It doesn't have the teeth that a state-regulated program would have.'" - The Stranger

Vashon Velvet Grows on Island Time - February 20, 2017

"While the passage of I-502 greenlit million-dollar investments into major production facilities throughout the state, it also opened doors for scrappy upstarts like Vashon Velvet—the company [WACA board member Susie] Gress founded in 2013 with her daughter, Ivy, and sister, Kay Rice." - Seattle Metropolitan

For Washington’s pot industry, out-of-state owners could supply a lifeline — or invite trouble - February 7, 2017

"[WACA Boardmember] Susan Gress owns a small pot farm on Vashon Island. She sees the out-of-state ownership bills in the state Legislature, with bipartisan sponsors, as a lifeline, a way for her business to grow and survive. 'The funds we could use to create more jobs and tax income for our state instead will go to states like Colorado and California,' said Gress, a former editor at Pulp & Paper International magazine. At a recent hearing in Olympia she told lawmakers that out-of-state investors have approached her but want a stake in her farm that state law now prohibits." - Seattle Times

Washington State Could Be (and Should Be) the Capital of Pot Research - February 1, 2017

"'On our end, we thought the research license was a critical component of the promise of I-502 [the law that legalized recreational use in Washington State]—a regulated market of safe products that were developed with better quality than what was available in the medical market,' said [WACA Boardmember] Brad Douglass, the scientific director at Bellevue cannabis lab the Werc Shop." - The Stranger

City Inside/Out: Marijuana Lounges - January 27, 2017

Vicki Christophersen, Washington CannaBusiness Executive Director, is featured on Seattle Channel's premier public affairs show discussing the association's support for giving local jurisdictions the opportunity to create regulations allowing for marijuana consumption lounges. Christophersen's interview is featured beginning at the 1:52 minute mark.

Marijuana world: Maybe Attorney General Jeff Sessions won't be so bad - January 17, 2017

[WACA Board-member and Vashon Velvet owner Susie] Gress and her fellow business owners don’t seem too worried about a federal crackdown. Partly because of the cost and resources that would be involved, and partly because voters seem to be moving in the opposite direction. Eight more states including California legalized marijuana in some form in November." - KUOW

Washington CannaBusiness Association Shares 2017 Legislative and Regulatory Agenda - January 17, 2017

WACA priorities focus on increasing capacity for state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board, supporting new business practices for legal marketplace. - Press Release (.PDF)

Private Washington state fund to boost medical cannabis access - December 8, 2016

"Marijuana retailers in Washington state could see an uptick in business thanks to a proposed fund that would help foot the bill for low-income medical marijuana patients.The idea is the brainchild of the 70-member Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA), which hopes to have the fund up and running by spring 2017, according to the News Tribune. The fund is intended to expand patient access to MMJ." - Marijuana Business Daily

Can’t pay for your medical marijuana? A new fund might help - December 6, 2016

"Patients facing a wide array of medical conditions can sometimes get assistance for prescription drugs from pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and charities. That same support system doesn’t exist for medical marijuana. 'Hopefully we can help fill that void until the federal government changes the status of marijuana nationally,' [WACA Executive Director] Christophersen said." - Tacoma News-Tribune

Washington CannaBusiness Association to Launch New Fund for Patient Access - December 6, 2016

WACA also announces Code of Conduct for members establishing association commitments to safety, citizenship and to be good neighbors - Press Release (.PDF)

-- FULL TEXT: Code of Conduct --

The State Wants More Accurate THC Ratings on Pot, But May Be Missing the Main Culprit - December 5, 2016

"Vicki Christophersen, the executive director and registered lobbyist for the Washington Cannabusiness Association, said she was happy to see the state trying to improve their regulations. 'I do know that our companies feel very strongly that it is our role as an industry to prove it,' Christophersen says. 'We are in the prove it phase: proving that we can produce a safe product, proving that we will work hard to keep it out of children. We are sort of on the point of the sword.'" - Seattle Weekly

What's next for weed? - November 30, 2016

"As the industry becomes more established, more of what [WACA Executive Director Vicki Christophersen] hears from business owners has less to do with its unique aspects and more to do with everyday business questions — issues such as finance or human resources. They want to work, and they want the industry to work, she said. 'They are very supportive of and really want to be part of a fully regulated, safe industry that keeps its product away from children, that competes with the black market and provides revenue to the state,' she said. 'They’re committed to that.'" - The Columbian

Move over, booze: 2016 is a milestone year for sales of pot in state - November 18, 2016

"Vicki Christophersen, a lobbyist for the marijuana industry who heads the Washington CannaBusiness Association, said the increasing revenues for marijuana shops show the regulated marketplace is effectively competing against the black market. 'We wouldn’t be selling to that level if we weren’t,' Christophersen said. The price of products on store shelves now, despite the tax, 'are competitive with what we thought the black market was at one point.'" - Tacoma News-Tribune

Lessons in legalization: Washington’s slick pot industry booming - September 30, 2016

"Californians contemplating a future of legal marijuana after election day may want to gaze north, to places like this hip pot spot south of downtown Seattle, to see how radically the landscape has changed in the four years since Washington voters decriminalized recreational weed and the two years since retail sales launched. A thriving, slick-marketed cannabis economy is fronted by boutique ganja shops where green-thumbed bud tenders wander like sommeliers, pontificating on their feel-good goods." - San Francisco Chronicle

WACA member The Goodship Company and board member Vashon Velvet featured in latest Munchies, produced by Vice - August 30, 2016

"The Dankest Cannabis Cupcakes in Washington: Bong Appetit with Cupcake Royale"


Using marijuana just got a whole lot safer - August 8, 2016

"On July 1 our state took a big step forward in supporting a safe, quality-controlled and fully regulated cannabis industry by expanding the system created by voters to include the totally unmonitored medical marijuana marketplace." - Editorial by WACA Executive Director Vicki Christophersen published in The Tacoma News-Tribune

Cannabis growers look for clarity on pesticide use - July 6, 2016

"'From the growers’ perspective, they want their products to be safe,' Christophersen said. But in order to ensure safety, they need clear guidelines about what they can use, and how much, she said." - Agri-Pulse (.PDF)

Washington flips the switch on a new medical marijuana system – June 30, 2016

“‘We really don’t know how many dispensaries there were in the state, and how many were legitimate dispensaries and not just fronts,’ said Vicki Christophersen of the Washington CannaBusiness Association, which represents state-licensed marijuana businesses. That was a major reason behind the push to combine the systems." – The Spokesman-Review

WACA Executive Director Vicki Christophersen speaks with KOMO on July 1 expansion of regulated marketplace – June 27, 2016 

“For the first time, all consumers and patients will be protected by the requirements of the law, including product testing and regulatory compliance.” – Audio File

Washington To Take Major Step in Supporting Legal Marijuana – June 27, 2016

WACA, representing licensed marijuana industry, led efforts to support expansion of regulated marketplace – Press Release (.PDF)

Cities, Counties Want Fine-Tuned Rules For Legal Pot Shops And Grow Ops – May 31, 2016

“‘We have to remember where society is,’ [Washington CannaBusiness Executive Director Vicki Christophersen] said. ‘We have to be thoughtful, disciplined and slow in the development of this (industry).’ – The Lens

Washington Takes Action On Pot Pesticide Policy – May 19, 2016

Washington CannaBusiness Association applauds State for adopting action levels for pesticide detection and safety, a key policy priority for the industry association – Press Release (.PDF)

Weed-Like Growth for Washington’s Cannabis Industry – April 26, 2016

“[The] growth also shows that new blood has entered the market, including entrepreneurs. That’s according to Washington CannaBusiness Association Executive Director Vicki Christophersen. The trade association represents licensed and regulated cannabis businesses.” – The Lens

Washington CannaBusiness Association Celebrates Productive 2016 Legislative Session – April 5, 2016

WACA successfully led on the only industry-supported bills to pass in 2016 Session – Press Release (.PDF)

Regulated Cannabis Industry Engages In Steps Toward Pesticide Enforcement – March 22, 2016

WACA calls for specific pesticide regulations to protect public safety, establish action thresholds for product recall and public notice – Press Release (.PDF)

Washington CannaBusiness Association supports legislation that protects safety, privacy of regulated license holders – January 12, 2016

Support for SB 6207, a bill to protect the safety and privacy of individuals applying for or holding an I-502 license issued by the Liquor and Cannabis Board – Press Release (.PDF)

SB 6207 status and bill text

Increase in retail licenses positive step for regulated cannabis marketplace – December 16, 2015

Additional certainty for businesses investing in the regulated cannabis industry by increasing the amount of allowed retail licenses based on a prudent review of the current cannabis marketplace – Press Release (.PDF)

State compliance checks enforce safe marketplace – July 17, 2015

Washington CannaBusiness Association fully supports compliance for a safe, quality-controlled marketplace – Press Release (.PDF)

Licensed cannabis industry applauds Seattle enforcement legislation – July 13, 2015

Local action and enforcement are critical to supporting state laws for a safe, quality-controlled and regulated cannabis marketplace – Press Release (.PDF)

Regulated cannabis industry applauds King County enforcement actions – July 8, 2015

Statement supporting decisive enforcement actions taken by King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and Sheriff John Urquhart – Press Release (.PDF)

Regulated cannabis industry applauds new streamlined tax structure – July 1, 2015

Washington CannaBusiness Association celebrates achieving all key priorities in 2015 Legislative Session – Press Release (.PDF)

Licensed marijuana business owners testify at Seattle council hearing – June 10, 2015

Washington CannaBusiness Association members look forward to local enforcement to support regulated marketplace – Press Release (.PDF)

Pierce County’s ban on licensed pot shops serves only scofflaws – June 4, 2015

“Unless the Pierce County Council lifts its ban on legal marijuana shops, would-be marijuana sellers trying to play by the state’s rules will remain out of luck. And traffickers who flout the rules will continue to flourish.” – Tacoma News Tribune editorial

Regulated cannabis industry voices support for compliance checks – May 20, 2015

Washington CannaBusiness Association fully supports compliance for a safe, quality-controlled marketplace – Press Release (.PDF)

Governor signs law to protect patients, regulate a safe cannabis marketplace – April 24, 2015

Cannabis businesses applaud Governor’s support for Cannabis Patient Protection Act, look forward to a safe, quality-controlled and regulated marketplace – Press Release (.PDF)

Cannabis Patient Protection Act approved by Senate, heading to Governor’s Desk – April 14, 2015

Bipartisan 41-8 Senate vote builds momentum to support a safe, quality-controlled and regulated marketplace for cannabis in Washington State – Press Release (.PDF)

State House overwhelming votes to pass Cannabis Patient Protection Act – April 10, 2015

Bipartisan 60-36 vote builds momentum to support a safe, quality-controlled and regulated marketplace for cannabis in Washington State – Press Release (.PDF)

Critical updates needed in state marijuana laws – March 27, 2015

“Marijuana legalization is one of the biggest shifts in public policy in decades. Washington is a leader. Lawmakers need to act to make sure it doesn’t die on the vine.” – Seattle Times editorial

WACA Member Angela Jayo appears on Inside Olympia – March 26, 2015


WACA Member Tera Martin appears on the BBC to discuss challenges facing the regulated marketplace – March 10, 2015


House Health Care and Wellness Committee Public Hearing – March 5, 2015

Licensed business owners urge lawmakers to endorse a single system that supports safety, quality-control and competition for entire cannabis marketplace – Press Release (PDF)

A second chance to get medical marijuana right – February 20, 2015

“It should be obvious that Washington is not hurting for lack of marijuana. Right now, the Legislature’s priority should be regulating it and keeping it away from minors — which means driving a stake into the heart of the illegal dispensary industry before it metastasizes further.” – Tacoma News Tribune editorial

Cannabis Patient Protection Act passes Senate – February 16, 2015

Overwhelming Senate support for Cannabis Patient Protection Act, bill advances to House – Press Release (.PDF)

Legislative Day – February 3, 2015

I-502 Licensed Businesses Align Behind Cannabis Patient Protection Act – Press Release (.PDF)

Senate Health Care Committee Public Hearing – January 22, 2015

Public Safety, Quality Control and Tax Fairness At Stake for Legalized Cannabis – Press Release (.PDF)

Senate Health Care Committee Public Testimony – Full video (Link to TVW)

The following links feature testimony from WACA members:

  • 1:25:37 – Vicki Christophersen (WACA Executive Director), Eric Cooper (Monkey Grass Farms), Michelle Grogan (Green America)
  • 1:46:00 – Ian Eisenberg (Uncle Ike’s), John Branch (Mello Times), Angela Jayo (Green America)

Cannabis Patient Protection Act – January 7, 2015

Rivers, Hatfield introduce Cannabis Patient Protection Act - Press Release (.PDF)

Professional Association of Licensed Cannabis Businesses Endorses Cannabis Patient Protection Act – Press Release (.PDF)

WACA Media Kit for 2015 Legislative Session – December 4, 2014

An open letter from our executive director, Vicki Christophersen (.PDF)

About Us

What We Stand For (.PDF)

Public Welfare Regulations (.PDF)

Marijuana Poisoning Incidents Spike in Washington State, Reuters (.PDF) — Published November 18, 2014