Cannabis Business Forum. Spokane, Washington, April 16.

Wednesday, April 16, at 7 p.m. The Inlander will be putting on a “CannaBiz Forum” at the Bing Crosby Theater, at 901 W. Sprague Ave. in Downtown Spokane. The forum will address what I-502 means for Washington State and in particular, for Washington, East of the mountains.

Canna Law Blog’s own Hilary Bricken will be one of three panelists discussing the issues, along with Matt Cohen and, CEO of TriQ Systems and Randy Simmons, deputy director of the Washington State Liquor Control Board. The Inlander describes the panelists as follows:


Matt Cohen

A pioneer in the medical cannabis movement, Cohen spent more than a decade as a medical marijuana grower in California’s Mendocino County. Despite working within county and state law, Cohen’s farm was raided by armed federal agents in 2011 – an event documented by PBS’s Frontline. Cohen was also featured in Doug Fine’s 2012 book, Too High To Fail. Cohen served as the expert on production issues for the Washington State Liquor Control Board as it wrote regulations to enact I-502. Today he is the founder & CEO of TriQ Systems, a software, equipment & supply company; he is currently consulting for clients in Washington.


Randy Simmons

Named the “ganja guru” by the Seattle Times for his depth of knowledge, Simmons spent 23 years in the private sector before joining the Liquor Control Board in 2002. Since last year, Simmons has been the agency’s deputy director, leading 11 different research teams as the state has grappled with creating – nearly from scratch – a regulated cannabis marketplace that is expected to reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales.


Hilary Bricken

For her expertise in the emerging legal field of cannabis regulation compliance, Bricken was named “Marijuana Industry Attorney of the Year” by Dope magazine. Bricken is with the Seattle-based Canna Law Group and has helped Washington state clients navigate the murky legal issues surrounding legal cannabis, from land­ use disputes to intellectual property rights to tax and banking issues. She has also consulted with the Liquor Control Board on I­-502 implementation.

 We hope to see you there.
UPDATE: Just came across an Inlander article, entitled, Questions for the CannaBiz panel of marijuana experts, setting out the following questions that will be asked by the moderator of the panelists tomorrow — in addition to questions from the audience:
  • Some have said much of Colorado’s success establishing a recreational market has come from the state already having a well-established medical system. Do you think Washington will suffer in that regard because our medical market, especially in Eastern Washington, is more volatile and unregulated?
  •  The Legislature failed to pass medical marijuana reform this year, to the relief of some medical marijuana advocates. Do you think we’ll see medical marijuana reform in Washington in coming years? Do you have ideas for how best to treat the two markets — can they co-exist or should they be integrated?
  • In terms of the price of recreational marijuana, should we expect high costs in the beginning due to novelty and demand? When should we expect that market to stabilize and produce the price of cannabis that will last? What will it take to bring the price to a level low enough to eradicate the black market?
  • What changes do you expect in terms of the cultural identity of marijuana? Will we see traditional “stoner culture” fade away in favor of boutique/craft/artisan businesses?
  • Do you anticipate marijuana tourism being a boon for the state? What will individual cities need to do to become destinations?
  • Drivers from Washington and Colorado have accused Idaho law enforcement of profiling them as potential marijuana smugglers. Should Washingtonians crossing state lines be concerned? Will this difference in laws cause problems with neighboring states?
  • What have we learned so far from Washington and Colorado? What advice would you give to other states or citizens starting the initiative process?

Please come with your own questions as well.


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