The cannabis plants will be grown on 16 acres of land at the Stan Hatfield Industrial Park, which currently houses a go-cart track in what used to be a saw mill. The operation could start as early as August or September. Charles hopes to hire up to 50 people to work at his operation. The operation will be growing cannabis plants and then process that into oils.
Raymond Mayor Bob Jungar offered his thoughts on the situation.
“First, there a lot of things that have to fall into place before it call happen,” Jungar said. “The federal government sort of has to give its blessing or at least not be negative to it. And, nobody seems to know exaxtly what and when the feds are going to do something. If they’re against it, it would end right there. If I were that guy (Charles), I wouldn’t invest a lot of money in it – not knowing what the feds or state are going to do. We don’t know what kinds of rules the state going to set and the liquor control board is going to establish rules for these businesses and then hand out to people who qualify. It’s not a sure thing by any means. It’s wait and see right now.
“I’m at a point where the citizens of Pacific County voted (54.2%-45.8%) in favor of legalizing it. We have to accept it as the law now and it’s very didfficult for me. It’s a very strange position to be in.”
South Bend Police Chief Dave Eastham doesn’t see anything positive about the whole thing.
“I don’t see a positive side to it,” Chief Eastham told the Herald. “The so-called tax dollar increase is nothing but a word game and we’re not going to see much of it. Ecologists have shut down have of the loggers around here but nobody does anybody about that.I don’t believe that making something illegal leagal is solving anygbody’s problem. We are where we are on this thing and it’s not going to do society anything good. The federal government doesn’t’ seem to be taking their laws any more serious than we’re taking ours.
“We have alcohol legal that causes billions of dollars of damage every year and now we’ve accepted another drug on top of that,” Eastham said. “That doesn’t make any sense to me. It doesn’t compute. Two negatives don’t’ make a positive. I’m not saying we should have a dry country, but we have very little control of the damage that it’s caused in our soiciety.
Chief Eastham believes that crime will increase with the new pot laws and the pot growing operations getting started. He believes that people illegally selling marijuana will undercut retail prices. “It’s going to be different kinds of crime. The cheaper one will rule the product and the shops selling it will become fronts. First of all, let’s make the rules before we start throwing out all this so-called progress. It’s against the law fedrally to grow marijuana, so isn’t the state in violation. And, right now, there’s nothing written up by possession by consumption. We have no recourse if some kid is going to school half-baked. Our intelligence level will go down. It’s all a crock and we will have to live with it until it blows up in our faces.”
Pacific County Sheriff Johnson told the Herald his thoughts on the issue.
“I can’t support a facility that managers that sort of product,” Sheriff said. “I can’t give it my blessing. There’s always something good to something and there’s always something bad. I see all negative in something that supports marijuana.”
“I understand why the Port has considered it and they’re not in the same business that I’m in. As long as they’re complying with state law, they are not going to be delaing with me.”
“I don’t thnk it will increase crime in Pacific County. He has a pretty elabaorate plan to safeguard it.”
Sheriff Johnson said that all 39 sheriff’s in the state are against the legalization of marijuana.
The Port of Willapa Harbor will receive $4,800 a month plus taxes. The lease was signed for two years. However, there are several regulatory contingencies that would allow Charles to break the contract, including ramifications from the Liquor Control Boards, the Feds or the State.
“There are still a number of unknowns about what is going to happen with legal cannabis,” Port Manager Rebecca Chaffee said in a press release. But what we do know is that the state is building the framework to legally manufacture and distribute the product. The rules are expected to be finalized soon with production starting later this year. That could mean a significant number of new jobs here fairly quickly.”
Chaffee said the lease is conditional in that production will not begin at the facility before the state approves its final rules regulating cannabis production.
Charles, who has a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington, said, “There are variables still to be determined, but after the WSLCB releases its requirements for production and processing, I believe we can shape the Willapa Harbor site into a first class operation that the community will be proud of. Essentially, we’ll be growing cannabis plants and then process that into oils.”
South Bend resident Ron Craig offered his thoughts about the operation.
“My concern is we don’t want to be known as the marijuana capital of Washington,” Craig said. “I’m concerned that the management of the port dock has been so poor that they haven’t been able to manage what they have; much less taking on another controversial project that the taxpayers will be end splitting the bill for it. The Port hasn’t done a good job of attracting businesses
“The government is not very good entrepreneurs and are now getting into an area that is beyond their management capability,” Craig said. “Why do we need another tax burden on us? “We’re trying to attract serious businesses into our area. Do you think that’s what they want to see coming into Raymond – the pot capital of Washington?”
Raymond, which populates about 3,000 people, recently lost two businesses in JK Products and Halo Source, and the lumber business has been in decline for a few years.