A quick name-tag convention that placed those directly involved in the marijuana business wearing green, and others like local business owners, civic leaders and investors wearing blue, made it easier to quickly identify who you were talking to with so many new faces in town.
People started showing up 30 minutes prior to the event and stayed after the scheduled time allotted. The event was set up to have all those involved in the newest industry in the state to have an opportunity to speak candidly with each other about the marijuana business.
“I thought this would be a good way for those in the “business” to meet members of the community,” said Rebecca Chaffee, port manager and event organizer.
For Chaffee and the port, the anticipated new business has filled empty tenant buildings and is starting to bring attention to the area. Several media outlets have already stopped through and articles about the industry in Pacific County are appearing in newspapers, magazines and the Internet, bringing even more curious people to see what is going on.
As people filled the dining room of the Public House, self-introductions served as the icebreaker triggered by the colored name-tags. Shortly after the appointed start time, Chaffee got the crowds attention and explained what the night was about to all assembled. She further allowed everyone in the room to introduce themselves and provide a quick explanation as to what they do or reason for being present at the event. As people stood and introduced themselves, the tenor of the crowd became evident. The standing room only crowd was a mingle of local civic leaders with Mayor Bob Jungar of Raymond, members of the Pacific County Commissioners, Pacific County Economic Development Council, Chamber of Commerce, business owners, service providers, investors and of course those in the business of marijuana.
As planned the introductions identified the players to those in the marijuana business where they might want to place a face to a name or agency, and quick follow up was instituted after all introductions were complete.
Paul Philpot of the PC EDC commented on the role of the EDC and the new industry, “We will be here to help provide information between the groups. We are here for whatever is needed.”
Conversations dealt with some simple matters between marijuana producers on topics like what stage their production was in and their interface with the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Civic Leaders had several questions for producers and processors as they are still trying to totally understand the business of both recreational and medicinal marijuana, and Pacific County Public Utility Department General Manager Doug Miller was on hand to answer questions about the availability of the increased need for power along Port facilities.
“There is no question that we can provide any power the industry should need. We have already made some upgrades to port facilities that have direct connection to the marijuana industry,” said Miller.
For the PUD, workload and current projects under development may have to be “reshuffled”, but Miller is confident that anything on the books will be taken care of, even with the new industry starting to ramp up.
The latest information from the WSLCB reflects that only a dozen permits have been granted in the State, as of April 15, for producers, and ten processor permits. Of the majority of those currently permitted, ten are a combined producer/processor operation. Nine counties are currently poised and positioned with producers for an estimated 334 retail outlets still to come, none yet granted in Pacific County. Several of the producers/processors at the Meet and Greet say that are in constant contact with the WSLCB and are moving forward in the State’s permitting process.
Of the 21 recreational marijuana producers looking for state permits in Pacific County, 20 reflect a Raymond address. The other is listed as Tokeland. Twenty-five processors are waiting in the county, 17 in Raymond. The WSLCB list has over 4,600 producer and processor permits pending and is working the list daily. Out of the work so far in licensing of recreational marijuana only 20 producers and 14 processors have withdrawn their requests.
Even though the recreational marijuana business is not yet permitted in the County, the money is starting to flow into the community via the Port, the PUD and around local businesses. Direct jobs are soon to follow as permitting is granted.