Farmers leery of growing pot in WA and CO

Farmers leery of growing pot in WA and CO

Too many unanswered questions.

About a month after marijuana was legalized in Washington and Colorado, many people are still leery of starting up the production side. In Washington, the state has announced plans to create three different licenses: for growing, processing, and selling pot. Of the three, the "growing" license may turn out to be the most complicated.

The supply side of the equation is tricky. All of the pot which will be legally sold in Washington will also need to have been grown in Washington by a licensed grower. Because marijuana is still illegal in the other 48 states, it will not be legal to import it from outside the state. 
 
You might think that everyone who is currently running a grow operation could just fling open their windows, let the light in, get a legal license, and carry on what they have been doing. But it's not that simple. 
 
First of all, the state will probably enforce zoning regulations. The same way that you can't raise hogs inside the Seattle city limits, you will probably not be able to grow pot in any random basement. Second of all, because it is currently illegal to grow pot, you can't just say "I'm growing it now, so give me a license." And finally, most grow operations' neighbors are unaware of the grow operation, and might not be too happy to learn about it. 
 
The next logical choice would be for Washington's existing farmers to start growing marijuana. But here, too, things get complicated. Because marijuana is still considered an illegal drug at the federal level, farmers cannot get their crops insured. Nor will they be able to borrow money from a bank in order to finance their operation. Those two clauses alone will make most professional farmers back right off the idea.
 
Even if those hurdles could be overcome (say by a farmer's collective, or a multinational agricultural company with deep pockets), security and safety is a huge issue. 
 
Cannabis News interviewed an eastern Washington farmer who said that she might be interested in dedicating one of her hoop houses to growing marijuana, but she is "concerned about druggies invading my property." Cash crops like apples and corn are already subject to roadside theft. Imagine trying to protect an entire greenhouse of marijuana. And because of marijuana's effects, the state will need to create a new set of rules for farm workers involved in its production.