OLYMPIA, Wash. - Now that marijuana use is legal under Washington state law, the plant now must be grown in the state along with other profitable crops.
State voters approved Initiative 502 by 55 percent, and on Thursday, adults 21 and over can now legally possess marijuana.
There are about 40,000 farms in the state and the crops are already profitable. Apples, wheat, potatoes and more contribute to the $8 billion dollar agriculture industry.
An acre of marijuana is estimated to bring growers $4,000, which is the same amount as medium-sized red delicious apples. Potatoes bring in about $5,000.
A spokesman with the Washington State Department of Agriculture told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Amy Clancy that people have tried to apply for licenses.
“We had our first couple, the day after the election, bright and early here, first thing in the morning asking for an application to grow marijuana. We had to tell them, we don’t have any,” said Hector Castro of the State Department of Agriculture.
The Department of Agriculture has plenty of information on licensing, organic crops and the business of growing. However, the department does not have any information about marijuana.
According to the Washington Farm Bureau, none of its members are planning to get into the marijuana business, mostly because of concerns the federal government might someday shut them down and seize their assets.
The cost of producing marijuana would most likely be higher because it would have to be grown indoors, with lighting and security.
Marijuana growers might be people new to the farming industry.
“Definitely. There’s interest from folks who would like to grow marijuana. They’re not our traditional farmers, but they’re people who would like to get in on the action,” Castro said
A Carnation farm that sells to many local Saturday markets told KIRO 7 that they were not interested in growing pot because it already has more to offer.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board will have to figure out in the next year the regulations of growing marijuana.
Here is a list of FAQ from the Washington State Liquor Control Board about implementing I-502.