Legal pot growers face high costs of indoor cultivation



SEATTLE - Now that small amounts of marijuana will be legal starting Dec. 6, the state of Washington is looking at creating a brand new bumper crop.


If the new industry is to grow, the plant will also have to, because if people want to smoke it in the state, it will have to be grown in the state.


Kevin Bjornsson with Hydro-Tech sells lighting to what he calls hobbyists  -- people who grow marijuana at home.


He said it would be possible for pot to become the next big Washington state crop, but not in open fields like apples or wheat.


“They can’t do it totally outdoors because then the rain would interfere with the crop.  It would cause mold and other problems with the bud structure,” said Bjornsson.


And because Eastern Washington gets too cold in the winter, the crops will have to be grown indoors with lighting and guards, Bjornsson said.


Read the full text of Initiative I-502


Both are huge expenses and only two of the details the Washington State Liquor Control Board has a year to figure out.


“If you’re a farmer in Eastern Washington, it has to be contained, right?  You just can’t have it so that anyone can walk by and steal the marijuana from you, so there are going to have to be rules that are set up around that,” said Brian Smith with WSLCB.


Growing marijuana at home for personal use will not be an option.  All producers will have to be licensed at a cost of $1,000 and all marijuana will have to be tested by a third party.


In addition to keeping all the tax money, jobs and revenue in the state, there are other reasons for keeping all growers local.


“You can’t take marijuana from one state and drive it into Washington because it would be a federal crime.


The state will be working on the legalities of growing and selling the drug for the next year.


Read our FAQ on legal pot, see pictures of pot and pot-infused products and submit your own photos in our section about legalized marijuana.