Friday, October 23, 2015

Tour of Lincoln County marijuana farm draws connections with WSDA

Erik Johansen
Pesticide Management Division

On a sunny September morning, I met with Tai Saito at Buddy Boy Farms, a marijuana farm located north of Reardan in Lincoln County. Tai is the warehouse manager at Buddy Boy.

I’d been helping answer some of Tai’s questions about what pesticides are allowed for use on marijuana. I’ve worked on developing criteria for these allowable pesticides and consulting with this new industry since legal recreational marijuana production and use was approved by Washington voters in 2012.

Tai let me stop by to see the farm and learn more about their operation. I met the farm owner, Steve Walser, and his daughter Galadriel, who were very open and welcoming.

In the outdoor growing area, I saw several different varieties of marijuana plants. The biggest was over ten feet tall. Steve also showed me some shorter varieties, including one with purple coloration. The plants were drip irrigated and looked very healthy.

Steve said they are growing about 20 varieties of marijuana, and they anticipate a good harvest this year. Last year they grew about 75 varieties, and had selected varieties best suited to their operation.

Steve’s enthusiasm was infectious – he encouraged me to smell each variety. It reminded me of visiting hop farms in Central Washington. The aroma of some varieties of marijuana buds is similar to hops. We toured several greenhouses full of healthy looking plants. A nursery of young marijuana plants will replace the plants ready for harvest.

In a packaging room were scales that had been certified by the WSDA Weights and Measures Program. Steve and Tai praised the Weights and Measures inspector, saying he had provided several helpful suggestions.

It was really helpful for me to see this farm, and gain a better understanding of how WSDA is working with marijuana growers and processors. See our Marijuana and Hemp Information Web page to learn more about WSDA’s role. Along with providing information on allowable pesticides and certifying scales, we inspect processing facilities making marijuana-infused edibles.