growing marijuana

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Legal marijuana grows are just getting started in Washington. But it’s the illegal ones that local, state and federal agents are searching out this month. It’s the annual summer marijuana eradication program.

Joe Barrentine / The News Tribune

Washington state’s new pot grow operations have state-required alarm systems, dozens of cameras and tall fences. But some growers said they aren’t worried about theft and violence.

Should they be?

Joe Barrentine / The News Tribune

In eastern Washington, a pair of very different guys teamed up to embark on an experiment to grow Washington’s latest agricultural crop, legal marijuana. 

One of them, Alan Schreiber, is a strait-laced farmer. The other, Tom Balotte, is not a farmer; he’s a video-gaming techie.

Balotte also doesn’t smoke weed, but he does like to build things.

Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune

Figuring out how to maximize yields on legal marijuana in Washington state will be tricky, and not every licensed farmer will survive the competition and the tight margins.

Take Susy Wilson’s farm near Dallesport in the Columbia Gorge. Her pot crew and support includes low-paid family and friends. And a few waist-high pot plants in her fenced-off compound look a bit sad.

Anna King

Eric Cooper has a sort of "The Dude" vibe: Hawaiian shirt, leather brown sandals and a bushy silver goatee. He smoked weed for the first time when he was about 14. He’s a former contractor and registered nurse. Cooper grew medical marijuana, and now he’s one of the owners of Monkey Grass Farms in Wenatchee, Washington.

Monkey Grass Farms is one of the big boys: a tier-3 Washington state-licensed indoor pot grow. That means they can nurture about 21,000-square-feet of marijuana plants.

AP Photo

Some lawmakers in Washington state want to prevent marijuana producers from qualifying for agriculture tax breaks.

A state House committee heard a bill Tuesday that would block the new marijuana industry from tax breaks for 10 years. Officials estimate that the industry could otherwise qualify for three dozen different tax breaks, largely surrounding the agriculture industry.

Associated Press

The state of Washington has compiled a lengthy list of pesticides for marijuana growers to use, even though these chemicals are not officially approved for pot. The new list is part of the state’s ongoing effort to regulate the production of legal, recreational marijuana.

Cannabis is about to become Washington’s newest, legal cash crop. Like any crop, marijuana plants are susceptible to pests. Since pot cultivation is against federal law, there are no pesticides approved by the Environmental Protection Agency specifically for cannabis.