SPOKANE, Wash. - Retail marijuana stores are running out of product all over the state, and the pot processing system is playing a key roll in the shortage.
Marijuana processors continue to get licenses across the state of Washington, and those who hold the license say the state is watching them very closely. Each plant is tracked from seed till the time the marijuana is processed and sold to customers.
"Everything is marked from origin until it's final sale to a retail customer," Director of Sales for Retail Services R.J. Portmann said.
The state is moving slowly on the roll out of legal marijuana. That's led to a shortage of product at retail locations across the state. In the end the state will issue enough licenses to keep up with demand, but that will take some time.
"They're building a system to be very effective," Portmann said. "It's going to be very easy to control and monitor for the long term."
Portmann is working to get plants in the hands of those who are just starting after they get their license. He says there is only a 15 day period when producers can acquire plants.
"During that 15 day window we are also able to provide that to 502 producer processors, once that 15 days is up we can't do that anymore," Portmann said.
Plants range in size, the smallest being sold for $7, the ones close to producing flowers sold for $100.
Once that 15 day period ends it's up to the producer to keep production going.
"Outside of that 15 day period you need to source your own plants within your own operations or another producer processor," Portmann said.
Processors say it could take up to a year for the supply to meet the demand.