Welcome back to high school, where hirsute men with a distaste for hygiene sling indiscriminate grab bags, buying for five and selling for ten.
One year ago, the MMJ economy in Washington was a well-oiled, self-regulating machine. The large-scale DEA raids had yet to transpire; medicine was plentiful, cured and efficacious; and patients received unparalleled attention to their needs.
A year passes. The state of MMJ is in upheaval over letters from the DEA, a hearkening back to the raids last November. Except this time, access points are permanently closing their doors. “Who got their letter?” patients ask, “Did you get your letter?” access point owners inquire while their fellow cooperatives disappear overnight. The DEA timed their legal assault perfectly; chaos looms beneath the surface of Washington’s MMJ.
Washington’s medical marijuana community fractured over I-502. The DUID clause and the potential eradication of the MMJ model has cannabis advocates mobilizing against the legalization of cannabis use for adults. Toss in the fear of a letter of condemnation and a frenzied lair of dispensary owners have cast their sheepskin aside, exposing their greed. Conversely, the sensible and level-headed access points choose to withdraw from the advertising and marketing world, catering to familiar patients with superior medicine (these access points do exist, but scarcely). And so begins the decline of dry meds in Washington State access points.
The DEA letters and the potential passing of I-502 unveils a much suspected breed of access point owner, the avaricious purveyor of Wal-Mart quality medicine. In the business, they’re known as “buy for five, sell for ten” locations. When the medical marijuana community needs to unite the most, these alleged non-profits focus on turning the highest profits until a DEA letter graces their inbox. For these businessmen there’s no patients, only clients; no donations, only sales. As the now defunct BOTH Collective owners were overheard saying to a budtender: “Push the top shelf.”
Competent vendors with quality dry medication avoid these corporations, er, access points, on principle, knowing that their well-grown and cured Grape Ape will be given the same price quote as some mite-ridden, mildewy swag. It’s no longer a best product market, but a lowest price under-bidding war.
And so, the specialized strains designed for efficacy and sense appeal are disappearing from the jar shelves. Instead, the connoisseur farmers are selling their medicine to friends with cards, keeping top shelf strains off the shelves and within their own circles. Some have even returned to the underground, opting for black market insecurities over access point greed.
California’s outdoor harvest floods the market in less than a week, continuing the decline of local dry medicine. As more and more connoisseurs recognize that quality, flavorful cannabis no longer plays a role in the majority of access points, they too will leave the MMJ scene, reinforcing the quantity over quality model that now prevails in access points all over Washington.