I-502 Licensee Survey Results

I recently surveyed 1,030 I-502 licensees.

I asked only one question: "As an I-502 Business Owner, what is your #1 biggest concern?"

There were exactly 101 replies, representing roughly 10%.

Here are the survey results below - there are summaries like word clouds and a chart showing that the most-common areas of concern are for WA State Cannabis business owners, and I'm also publishing each and every survey reply, unedited, no grammar or spelling corrections.

Please be advised that some people used curse words, so if you're sensitive to such things please read on with caution.

Summarizing The Survey Results

First up, here's a word cloud showing a summary of concerns based no words that were repeated at least twice - you can see the word counts, and this is arranged alphabetically:


As you can see, price and taxes are the most-commonly repeated words in the survey replies from I-502 business owners.

Here's another word cloud but increasing the required word-frequency to a minimum of 3:


We can see that "price" and "taxes" are still the most-frequent words and many concerns also stemmed from similar and related concerns.

I also assigned each response a "category" to summarize the data points and licensee concerns - here's how that looks:


The Raw Survey Results

Here are the uncensored, unfiltered survey responses, sorted by order received (first to last).

Again, note that I have not edited, fixed grammar or spelling - these are your peers unedited, raw responses:

1 Taxes are to high, no room for employee advancement
2 Pricing .. as a teir 1 producer processor I don't feel like I should have to negotiate the price every single sale. I don't feel like I should have to negotiate the price every single sale I wish the state should of put the pricing in order before we were licensed
3 Banking
4 Cashflow
5 state taxes and federal stance on cannabis
6 taxes
7 Being robbed
8 Bad market for wholesale product
9 When is the wilco going to allow growers only retail stores
11 low wholesale
12 Lack of banking
13 Prices dropping so low that there is no profit to be made except by those mega companies who have deep pockets and can produce the quantity required to still make a profit
14 IRC 280E
15 Increasing yield to keep up with demand
16 The LCB rules do not allow a P/P to have Retail License, and the limiting of a Tier to a certain canopy size.
17 Too many growers.
18 Oversupply driving the prices down
19 Federal intervention
20 The State of Washington and th LCB
21 Paying the bills
22 Retail price fixing and falling price per gram.
23 Taxation and Banking
24 as a producer just being able to survive
25 Compliance
26 taxes
27 trump
28 federal law
29 There are not enough retailers to support the canopy that currently exists. I sould be able to sell what I produce at a fair price and currently I cannot.
30 Trump as president
31 Sales
32 That the LCB will continue to crank out more prod/proc so none of us are capable of seeing black ink
33 Taxes
34 Compliance investigations by the LCB
35 I need to have more than 2,000 square feet of plant canopy
36 Increasing Sales
37 Having more retailers carry our product
38 NOt enough retail outlests- for the production capacity
39 Banking.
40 sanctuary cities, it seems most are in marijuana states I fear Federal action
41 Staying open. Too many growers, not enough stores open
42 New federal government stance on legal cannabis
43 LCB writing non-compliance issues that could potentially close my business I being unreasonable and not acknowledging human factor
44 Enforcement is so quick to fine and condemn even if its an ussue your trying to resolve. Who you speak to for help gives in inconsistent information that can cause big fines and risk your license
45 Taxes
46 Being taxed to death.
47 taxes
48 Taxes are to high. No room for employee advancement
49 Banking
50 As a Tier 1 with only 2 owner/operators, finding investing and general help for my business. Can't afford to pay employees, and my co owner is more of an investor who cant cover everything. I WANT to give everyone a living wage and medical services, but I can't even get paid for the work I do myself.
51 Making the business work there is a huge inbalance between income made by growers and retailers
52 history repeating itself
53 Banking
54 The ability of the retailers to drop prices and lowball producers. This is not how it was meant to be. There should be lcb support to prevent retailers from : 1. back door handshake agreements with certain producers. 2. Prevent retailers from refusing to give fair market value - 10 cents to 90 cents a gram - when they sell product at $20-$30gram
55 Producer/Processor pricing - lower taxes would relieve some of the price crush on the producer/processors
56 Taxes
57 Accounting for every gram
59 280e tax
60 Federal taxes
61 Taxation and Lab Testing
62 Testing results and companies, pay to play.
63 Overall wholesale prices
64 The LCB
65 Taxes
66 We want our flower to be the best, most sought after. That's what I care about most. I should probably care more about yields and profits, but I'm just being honest. When I see our quality dip even a little, or another producer put out something fire, then I get concerned!
67 The Safety of my Employees from Burglary.
68 fedral government
71 Funding
72 wholesale prices
73 Rules and regulations
74 Soon to be Attorney general Sessions, Price point, Corporations
75 Not getting to sell my own product
76 Possible federal intervention from this new Drumpf administration. There is a lot of ambiguity in the state law.
77 not going bankrupt! prices too low to survive
78 Selling product
79 liability
80 to many shops in small towns
81 Profitablity
82 Financial challenge of producing/processing; imbalance w/r/t profits at retail level
83 Will the WSLCB take steps to fix the imbalances in system that is weighted in favor of the retailers and against the producer/processors?
84 The market is fucked. no one wants to pay a fair price to farmers cuz the market is compleatly flooded
85 Trump
86 keeping up with requirements of bio track
87 As a small producer/processor, getting a good price for our product.
88 Trump
89 Exuberant excise taxes
90 Trump
91 Pricing
92 Market Share
93 Price compression
94 Protecting the number of growers, in order to keep it a sustainable industry too much product will drop prices below sustainable levels causing growers to become desperate. It will increase black market activity and create a never ending stream of business failures because as the business fails the licence is passed onto the next guy who's going to fail. The lcb must continue the current levels of producers.
95 Too much product supply (too many producer licenses were given out).
97 The unforeseen.
98 Over supply to the market
99 Keeping plants healthy and free of bugs
100 Federal re-classification
101 Lack of accountability and or knowledge of the WSLCB. They are doing their best but they are mostly staffed with incompetent under paid morons. Just saying... They did such a bad job with liquor it was voted away from them. Imagine how well they are doing with something most know nothing about?

Comments are enabled on this post, so feel free to make a comment below.


8 Responses to I-502 Licensee Survey Results

  • most of these look like producer responses…we are always looking for good product for producers in a new market, yakima. price must be competitive with peers and in line w/ quality but is much less important than: willing to deliver, systems in place to ensure delivery arrives when parties agree, ability and time to work with buyer on placing an appropriate order, no sandbagging (replacing order w/ lower thc content or old flower–try dealing w/ picky customers in one of the best climates for growing in the world.) you can look on tetratrak or other public records data and speak w/ our current vendors — we pay list price and we don’t use the excuse many Seattle retailers use, that is, “our customers can’t afford that.” try selling to customers making far less than Seattle minimum wage who can grow outside in a beautiful, dry climate. if it’s great weed, they will come.

  • So, what is the solution?
    We need to rally behind legislation that lowers the state excise tax. (And then stick to our wholesale pricing if not actually raise it.)
    We need to rally behind rule changes that are limiting stores. Lift the LCB location limitations – let stores open where ever they can and give the localities the control.
    We need to rally behind not allowing canopy increases in 2017 – let things settle a bit before canopy is re-allocated (which would likely be to the biggest businesses)
    We need to establish a WA State Cannabis Commission to help the producers become more productive. Guidance on best practices, etc. When other crops form a commission, their entire industry’s wholesale averages increase.

  • Pricing is a huge issue but if you look at sales activity spreadsheets from LCB the margin for retailers AFTER excise tax is between 11%-32% nothing crazy.

    The highest margin is for processors. Over 100% margin. Obviously these numbers could be off since producer/processors work out deals with producers. But blaming the retailers isnt right.

    Producers need to lower cost of doing business.

    Create a standard price we all accept.

    Destroy product we arent going to get good $ for. When we sell trash for trash prices it sets precedent for that same price later.

    Producers control supply and right now we are giving it away.

  • I know that we grow good product and have it available monthly. The main issue is that Retal dosent want to pay a fair and sustainable price or order in sufficient quanity.

    I find is my biggest problem is that EVERY retail back room is filled to the hilt with the same 4 brands. All tier 3 mostly phat panda and Northwest and Artizen take up most retail stockrooms. If retail would allocate shelf space to tier 1 and 2 we could sell more product. But since I cannot grow as much as tier 3s they under cut us on priceing and put in retail agreements that force retail into purchasing so much of their product there is no room for others.

    Look at the disparity of the top 15 producer processors. Then look at the next 5 them the 5 after that. watch the sales plummet and it only gets worse as you go down the i502 data list. The only people making money in the i502 industry are retail and 20 producer processors, testing facilities, and the State.

  • These responses are obviously generated from mostly Producer/Processor. Being on the retail side and coming from a large medicinal gardening background gives me a bit of a different perspective. Now I am a purchase manager for two retail locations and the biggest thing I come across is people growing MMJ that have no experience other than a plant outside once a year. The quality of Recreational MMJ in this state is over all bad there are some high quality product on the market don’t take this wrong. However you can’t bring in samples of dry trichomless flower with a low test result and expect us to put you on the shelf at the same price as a High quality farm. I seen a couple comments on tier 1 producers talking about they can’t grow enough product. In all fairness did you not realize the license you applied for? At the rate we go through flower a Tier 1 can’t keep up unless we get them exclusive and even then they usually run out of product.

  • Worked in the Fish business for 40 years in management and administration, international sales mostly with some local, Costco,Safeway etc.
    Worked for a small company,being—- bullied /price fixing/ bodily harm threats/ collusions/ Federal and State regulators with the authority to fine you out of business and trying to co exist with the BIG companies and their advantages of more power in the market place were just part of human nature mixed in with some pretenses of free enterprise.
    Learned a lot of things in Viet Nam.
    Most importantly is that its a jungle out there and it wants to eat you !
    If it can.
    Organize, develop a plan where you win the right to exist, and attack and subject, change(modify), or remove those problems that are causing you the most harm.
    Best, Steve

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