Washington pot harvest begins - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington pot harvest begins

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The harvest has begun at Buddy Boy Farms. The harvest has begun at Buddy Boy Farms.
REARDAN, Wash. -

Steve Walser's life on the farm has changed dramatically over the past two years.

Walser has been a farmer in Washington for decades. He built Willow Wind Organic Farms in Reardan, Wash., to be a family business. They've grown several crops over the years, including potatoes and hay. Today their premiere food is blueberries.

But beside their berry crop sits a secure facility filled with their newest crop: Marijuana.

Recreational cannabis hit stores around Washington in 2014 after voters legalized its use.

Walser joined the pot industry in its infancy. He says his business partner brought knowledge of cannabis to the table, and Walser applied his farming skills.

"I love growing things," Walser said. "And I was like, 'Oh, it's legal.'"

Today, their weed venture, Buddy Boy Farms, grows around 1,500 plants. They're one of the five largest growing operations in Washington.

"It's been an interesting ride," Walser said. "It's still a little strange to me that you can do this."

Walser's crew has been learning on the fly, and the work hasn't slowed down. This week they began the Fall harvest, their biggest production of the year.

For the next month, between 40 and 65 employees (depending on the week) will be preparing the pot from plant to packaging.

In 2014, Buddy Boy Farms produced around 1,500 pounds of marijuana for retailers around the state. This year, they expect to package upward of 2,500 pounds.

Walser says business is booming, but he's been cautiously optimistic about this new industry.

"This is an uncertain business," he said. "I mean blueberries, we know there's a market every year. No one is going to declare them illegal."

"This, we aren't sure."

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