YEARS IN REGION
We primarily cultivate our cannabis outdoors using the power of the sun, lights are only used to preserve genetics and cultivate clones and seedlings.
Editor’s Note: Companies are scored on energy within their own categories (indoor vs. indoor, etc.), using whole systems analytics scoring methodology, including kWh/gram metric.
We pay our employees above minimum wage. We do not provide health benefits at this time; Tax code 280e makes this especially costly as we are unable to deduct the costs of health care benefits currently. We provide 2 weeks (80 hours) PTO each year to our employees during their first 3 years of employment. After the third year it increases to 3 weeks (120 hours). We comply with FMLA requirements for parental leave to be offered.
We are an equal opportunity employer, we also provide all of our employees training on our anti-harassment policy and require signed acknowledgements. We also strive to lead by example and our employee handbook is clear that if a complaint of harassment or discrimination is substantiated, appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination, will be taken.
We are very connected to our community. We are recognized by a number of appointed and elected officials including Spokane City Council, Spokane County Commissioners, Spokane Conservation District Office, Spokane Clean Air Agency, Spokane Regional Health District, Spokane Building and Planning Department as industry leaders and they will frequently reach out to us regarding any issues related to cannabis farming in the county. Crystal Oliver was recently recognized by Catalyst Magazine as one of 2016’s 20 under 40 professionals in the Spokane region who are making a name for themselves and their community. Additionally we have engaged in the following:
• For the last 12 years our co-founder Kevin Oliver has engaged in advocacy work on the local, state, and national level in his role as Executive Director of Washington NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), some of the activities he has engaged in over the last 12 years include; organizing meetings, protests, and events such as Spokane Hemfest. Kevin Oliver recently received NORML’s Outstanding Cannabis Advocate Award for Advancing the Cause of Marijuana Law Reform.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver collected signatures and set up signs for Initiative 502.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver provided logistical and operational support to New Approach Washington during the Initiative 502 signature gathering campaign as well as the educational campaign that took place prior to the 2012 election.
• Kevin Oliver has served as a Marijuana Law Reform Adviser to Latin America, for guest of the US State Department for the World Affairs Council.
• Kevin Oliver attended and provided comment during initial rulemaking hearings in Spokane and Seattle to the WSLCB asking for rules to allow small micro-brew style cannabis operations an opportunity to enter the market and succeed. Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver also requested that opportunities be provided to those who have been victimized by the war on drugs to
become business owners.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver organized cannabis farmers in Spokane County to fight for fair zoning for cannabis farms after the county commissioners adopted an emergency ordinance that required cannabis production and processing be setback 300 feet from rear and side property lines. (for a little perspective, this ordinance rendered 97% of their 10 acre parcel unusable for marijuana cultivation and their farm house was already on the 3% they would be permitted to use.) They organized opposition efforts by: reading the entire Spokane County Zoning Code Book cover to cover discovering that not a single other use was treated similarly, meeting with the planning director and county commissioners to identify possible compromises and persuading the commissioners to hold their public hearing earlier to support farmers in being able to plant in the spring, organizing two separate stakeholder meetings of marijuana farmers and supportive retail applicants to discuss the impact of the zoning ordinance proposal, how rulemaking works, who they could call and e-mail to ask for change and reconsideration of the ordinance and provided suggested talking points and our non-profit Washington NORML provided a 20+ page paper to the county commissioners outlining the unfairness of the ordinance and proposing changes that would allow the industry to move forward in Spokane. Ultimately cannabis farmers provided over 4 hours of testimony at the public hearing and nearly one hundred letters and the county commissioners modified the ordinance in such a way that it balanced the interest of cannabis farmers and their neighbors and the final code language classified cannabis cultivation as an agricultural use.
• Crystal Oliver joined and currently sits on Spokane Clean Air Agency’s Marijuana Advisory Committee to represent cannabis farmers in discussions about regulating the industry and assessing fees.
• Crystal Oliver joined and currently sits on Spokane Conservation District’s Voluntary Stewardship Workgroup program to represent cannabis farmers as they develop a program that balances protection of critical areas while maintaining and enhancing the viability of agriculture through voluntary incentive based programs.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver organized a group of Spokane Cannabis farmers to participate in the annual Spokane River Clean Up Day taking place on September 17 th 2016.
• Crystal Oliver will be presenting on cannabis cultivation at the Southside Senior & Community Center as part of a series on alternatives to pharmaceuticals.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver provided testimony/comment in support of WSLCB rules to be small business friendly and provide opportunities to victims of the war on drugs during initial rulemaking.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver shared all of our letters and reports we used in our fight for fair zoning in Spokane county with farmer’s throughout the state to support their efforts to achieve equitable and reasonable zoning.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver provided organization support and sent out e-mails to licensees and our e-mail lists for individuals in a number of other cities and counties as they attempted to fight unfair zoning of marijuana businesses including: Spokane Valley, Snohomish County, Mason County, Kittitas County, Pasco, & Auburn.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver organized and educated cannabis farmers throughout the state to fight a proposal submitted for approval to the Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC) by the Washington Association of Building Officials (WABO) that would have classified all cannabis cultivation as a ‘moderate hazard factory industrial use’ including greenhouse operations this would have triggered F1 building codes be applied to all cannabis cultivation which would have forced the industrialization of the energy to the detriment of the environment and small business owners and cannabis farmers throughout the state. The SBCC received over 100 letters and approximately 4 hours of testimony from impacted cannabis farmers at the public hearings in Spokane & Olympia. Ultimately they abandoned this proposal and decided to establish a Cannabis Issues Technical Advisory Group in 2016.
• Crystal Oliver served on the Cannabis Issues Technical Advisory Group (this required her to attend 4 hour meetings every Friday for 3 months as well as additional reading, research and discussion as they went through the 2015 emergency fire code created for cannabis extraction equipment line by line and modified, relaxed, and clarified it.) The fire code developed by this group was submitted to the International Building Code Council and was approved for adoption in the 2018 International Building Code.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver organized cannabis farmers throughout the state to fight against a rule proposal put forth by the WSLCB which would have required destruction of licensed producers/processors inventory (cannabis and cannabis plants) for fairly minor rule infractions such as failure of an employee to wear a name badge. There was standing room only at the hearing in Olympia regarding these rule proposals and the WSLCB abandoned this rule.
• Kevin Oliver & Crystal Oliver have both personally met with their state representatives in the House and Senate to advocate for legislation to improve the economic environment for marijuana licensees in Washington State.
• Kevin Oliver has traveled to Washington DC three times in the last 2 years to meet personally with our Federal Representatives to discuss descheduling of cannabis, banking reform, and tax code 280e reform.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver organized round table discussions between federal representatives and industry stakeholders to facilitate sharing of information and knowledge.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver have personally donated to individuals running for state and federal office who support cannabis businesses and cannabis consumers.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver assisted new licensees with using the Biotrack Seed to Sale System.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver referred fellow cannabis farmers to friendly contractors and other service providers.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver introduced cannabis business owners to local politicians and business association to support their integration with the community.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver provided recommendations to investors and business people looking to join the cannabis industry and acquire a license.
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver have spoken and/or presented at a number of events over the years to promote both their business and the positive aspects of cannabis legalization.
Our primary packaging is glass jars that can be reused or recycled. We shred and compost all of our plant waste materials. No plant waste is sent off premise.
We’re working to reduce waste to landfills additionally in these ways:
• We hand-wash and reuse all of our plastic pots and trays.
• We do NOT use plastic weed blocker.
• We sell the majority of our product in glass jars that can be reused or recycled.
• We worked with one of our suppliers to stop the use of packing peanuts, and reduce use of tape, on packaging materials we receive from them.
• We religiously recycle glass, paper, aluminum, and plastic on the farm.
• We focus on keeping the majority of our purchases small and local.
• We buy in bulk or from local farmers whenever possible to avoid packaging waste.
To conserve water use we use drip line irrigation and carefully monitor and measure the water we use. This particular year we have benefited from frequenter rains and as a result have not watered as frequently. We also water early in the morning or in the evening to avoid loss of water to evaporation.
· We provide preferential hiring to felons and individuals victimized by the war on drugs.
· We have repeatedly encouraged fellow cannabis industry members to consider providing job opportunities to those who have been victimized by the war on drugs. We have made a point to make statements along these lines anytime we were speaking in front of a group of industry members such as speaking at MJBA Job Fair, MJBA Front Runner Event, Seattle Hempfest, Cannacon: Women in Cannabis, and at The Cannabis Alliance Summit. In private conversations with industry members we make sure others are also aware of tax benefits available to employers who employ felons as well.
· Through Kevin's work with NORML where he sits on the National Board of Directors we continue to advocate for legalization throughout the United States and support law reform efforts that provide opportunities for small business owners and those with criminal backgrounds. Both of which should provide more opportunities for minorities and victims of the war on drugs.
· Much of our activism in Washington State over the last 2 years has focused on preserving opportunities for small business owners to participate in the industry. Minority members are more likely to start as small businesses, thus our small business activism helps minorities.
· Over the last 12 years Kevin has served as a source for media throughout the state and sometimes the nation, offering up accurate data on marijuana and arrest rates and has supported legalization in any way possible.
(Editor’s note: Washington’s Finest is the only company to score well in this category; one other company scored, and most received a 0 score. This both reflects Washigton's Finest exemplary performance, and reflects that this area is the one in which the whole industry has farthest to go.)
We’ve been fortunate that we’ve been able to completely avoid the use of pesticides on our outdoor/sungrown crops, instead we’ve been able to rely on predatory insects such as praying mantis, ladybugs, dragonflies, predatory mites, birds, and more. Indoors when we’ve used pesticides we have exclusively relied on products that are OMRI listed for use in organic farming and food crops. Indoors we’ve used organic or non-synthetic fertilizers for our plants. Outdoors we are especially mindful of the impact we could potentially have on the environment and have focused on strictly using compost, compost teas, cover crops and only OMRI listed for organic farming and food crops fertilizers to enrich the soil. All Compost that is brought in is organic and locally sourced.
HEALTH & SAFETY
• Owners Kevin & Crystal Oliver provided written and verbal comment to the DOH & WSLCB during their rulemaking related to the merging of markets focusing on cost of testing on the initially proposed 3lb lot size which would result in increased cost to patients for medically endorsed product as well as expressing concern over the cap on the number of stores in the state.
• We strive to be pesticide free and/or use only OMRI certified for organic use pesticides to prevent consumer exposure to potentially hazardous chemical residue.
• We do not use synthetic fertilizers and only use OMRI certified for organic use fertilizers to prevent customer exposure to excess heavy metals and potentially hazardous chemical residue.
• We farm on a parcel that has a history compatible with organic farming. It has been fallow for over ten years and prior to our ownership was a goat farm, alfalfa field, and dairy. We are also NOT located adjacent to any other largescale commercial farms, fields, vineyard, or orchards that could contaminate our farm via pesticide or herbicide drift.
• We strive to wholesale flower to consumer minded extraction/processing companies who do not utilize terpenes from sources outside cannabis.
We cannot say enough about how much we respect Washington’s Finest: in every single area, they are remarkably impressive. We anticipated failing the entire industry on Social Justice, but Washington’s Finest Cannabis proved us wrong, as they excel there too. Everyone who appreciates legal weed in Washington should send them a thank you note for their decades of tireless dedication and advocacy, for it is this work that I-502 and its passage was built upon, and sometimes that gets forgotten. Thank an activist, really. Absolutely everything they do demonstrates years of commitment and thought, and they are still just as active in advocacy and continuing to push the industry in the right direction. Standing Ovation, Washington’s Finest!