Expert Expects Washington Cannabis Market to Become Dominated by Large Growers

Sam Mendez University of Washington Cannabis Law and Policy ProjectSam Méndez is the Executive Director of the Cannabis Law & Policy Project (CLPP) at the University of Washington School of Law, where he earned his J.D. in 2014. CLPP aims to deliver research and recommendations on statutes and regulations governing the commercial cannabis and hemp industries and published “Estimating Canopy Size for the Washington Medical Marijuana Market” for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board in March.

UW Today interviewed Méndez to discuss the report, which addressed the supply of cannabis relative to the potential demand from medical patients, and Washington’s cannabis industry. Méndez explained how CLPP estimated that 1.7mm to 2mm square feet of cannabis plant production will be needed to meet the needs of medical patients in the state. One of the most difficult aspects of the study was taking into account the shift from flower to edibles and extracts. The conclusion of the report was that the current allotted 10mm square feet in canopy is sufficient to meet the overall needs of the market.

Méndez also discussed different modes of production, pointing to outdoor grows in Eastern Washington.  He expects the market to shift more towards outdoor and greenhouse production as growers deal with falling prices.  He also envisions further segmentation within the market similar to the way the wine market has developed, with mass market products satisfying many consumers but a high-end.

Finally, Méndez sees the potential legalization in California as a negative for tourism.  He also expects the market to become dominated by large players at the expense of small businesses.

Read Deborah Bach’s “Q&A: CLPP’s Sam Méndez on Washington’s pot industry, why outdoor grows make sense and how marijuana is becoming like wine”: http://www.washington.edu/news/2016/05/31/qa-clpps-sam-mendez-on-washingtons-pot-industry-why-outdoor-grows-make-sense-and-how-marijuana-is-becoming-like-wine/

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