This is a fictional piece with almost no data included. It tells the story of how the new Union of States and Provinces called Cannadafornia was kick-started by Washington State’s Great Traceability Meltdown of 2017. No generalizations from this to reality should be made.
How Cannadafornia Came to Be
Prime Ministerial President Justin Trudeau, in preparing to address his 100 million citizens on the decennial anniversary of his country’s expansion, reflects on events that led to the secession of the Western States during a discussion with his Minister of NORMLity, Xenefont Dzubin (XD)
PMP: XD, who would have thought 11 years ago that Cannabis and Hemp would represent over 25% of our GNP?
XD: Well, Sir, when we absorbed Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho our population more than doubled. More importantly, California alone brought in almost 10 million Cannabis consumers and a genetic bank that is, to this day, second to none.
PMP: Remind me of the events that led to Washington kick-starting the secession of the Western States, as I would like to get the details right for my address next week. It is an important opportunity to reinforce the sensibility of Cannadafornia and to put to rest any residual fears that our Government would ever repeat the mistakes made by our neighbors to the South and East.
XD: As you know, the seeds of the change were sown, initially, by the inability of America to codify the protections of the Cole memorandum into law. The states that created the first regulated Cannabis markets did so at risk of Federal intervention, but did so with the support of the majority of their respective populations.
Each of those states set up robust regulatory structures, at whose foundation stood near real-time integrated “Seed to Sales” traceability databases that allowed virtually full transparency into the growth, processing, transfer, and sale of Cannabis within their respective borders. These S-to-S systems did a reasonably good job of ensuring that product was not diverted out of the taxed and regulated market. They ensured a minimal level of product quality, and they afforded consumers a window into the potency and “value” of each brand.
It was not long before sales of the more dangerous regulated drugs began to fall. While local beer and wine producers continued to flourish, the big international producers saw clear degradation of their markets. Cigarette use began to plummet, while at the same time demand for hemp spiked. Subsequent analyses show clearly that the initial spike in hemp was largely attributable to the rise of regulated Cannabis sales. Many tons were required to supply the growing demand for Hemp Wicks and rolling papers alone and the rise of CHABA put demand over the top.
The key event, Mr. Prime Ministerial President, that initiated the wave of secessions was what we have come to call the “Great Traceability Meltdown” that occurred in Washington late in 2017 and continued, unabated, through the first half of 2018.
The arrogance and, ultimately, gross negligence of the primary responsible regulatory agency led to a gap in traceability that led, almost immediately, to the regulators losing access to real-time data tracking product throughout their marketplace. With less than two weeks of warning, a completely new set of rules came into play.
PMP: Excuse me, they did not change any rules or laws in response to this did they?
XD: No, Sir, they did not. However, the real-world rules under which the market operated changed virtually overnight. The fundamental problem was that the overly-restrictive regulatory environment of Washington had forced many of it’s wholesalers into rather desperate financial situations. The fact that traceability stopped right as the largest harvest ever experienced by the state was at it’s peak catalyzed what subsequently unfolded.
First, over 40% of the product produced during that harvest disappeared. It vanished. Subsequent forensic analysis revealed that much of that was categorized across thousands of spreadsheets as waste. Waste that, it turns out, commanded prices over 5 times those seen within the state’s regulated system when sold in other (primarily east-coast) states.
At the same time, the hobbling of regulatory oversight of lab testing, led to a handful of the labs repeating the common pattern of failing to fail product on QA tests and inflating the cannabinoid and terpene numbers in order to increase revenue for their customers.
Within one month, virtually all of the labs saw dramatic decreases in the number of tests they were being asked to perform. Word spread rapidly amongst the struggling farmers that, with the LCB flying blind and unable to effectively oversee testing and labelling, the extra cost of testing was now avoidable. Sales of image editing software spiked and reported cannabinoid levels went through the roof. Some farms were reporting flower with total cannabinoid levels in excess of 50%. It turns out, that they increasingly began to take previous Certificates of Analysis and simply doctored them to reflect the current batch of product and whatever cannabinoid and terpenoid profile the market was currently demanding.
Unfortunately, the total lack of centralized transparency into this change removed the one factor that had previously damped the vicious cycle of product with the highest numbers selling at the highest prices and the quickest speeds.
The change in numbers was quick and it was dramatic. Consumers noticed, however, that the now 45% bud look and felt just like the 25% product they had enjoyed just months before. Consumers also noticed a dramatic increase in examples of low-quality (often moldy) product for sale on retail shelves.
Many were already frustrated with the fact that almost half the every dollar (not loony) that they spent was going to state and local taxes. They reasonably expected more from product taxed at such high rates. They reasonably expected quality, safety, and accurate labelling.
Growing consumer frustration peaked just as wholesalers (and some of the vertically-integrated retailers) realized how easy it was to divert product produced in the regulated system for sale outside of that system. Diverted sales had the advantage of zero taxation at the state level and they significantly mitigated the heavy Federal tax burden on retailers caused by IRS code 280e.
That this realization occurred just as the largest harvest the state had ever seen is what we now assume to be the spark that eventually led to our new union of states and provinces.
In less than two months, the streets of Washington (and neighboring states) were awash in inexpensive, untaxed, untested Cannabis — much of which was of very good quality. Sales began to plummet in retail stores, and even the indoor growers began to report much larger percentages of their crops as waste. Sales of chipper-shredders went through the roof, as did the adoption of complex industrial-scale composting systems.
We now know that the shredders and composters were largely for show. Growers certainly produced compost, but a detailed 3-dimensional assessment of compost revealed – when coupled with the detailed 3-dimensional assessment of canopy commissioned by the LCB – that the majority of product categorized as waste had, simply, disappeared.
Just in time for the great American holiday of Thanksgiving, many tons of high-quality flower began to flow into states across the nation. In hindsight, the grass-roots marketing campaign which labelled much of that product with “Proudly Grown in SeaHawk Land” backfired on Washington’s producers.
By early 2018, the Federal Government began to take notice. At that time, the remnants of the Trump administration were desperate to show that they had some competence. They were desperate to make a visible statement that they were in control of both their faculties and their nation.
That is when they moved into Washington. In force.
Within weeks, using address lists and sales information conveniently posted by the LCB (the state was, somehow, able to maintain very good records relating to retail sales), every single retail access point in the state was raided and closed.
As you know, Mr. Prime Ministerial President, the primary reason we also now count Idaho amongst our Province/States was the decision to house the thousands of prisoners using some of the WWII-vintage camps in Idaho that had once housed domestic Asians.
The closure of these stores and the resultant disruption of the entire regulated Cannabis industry in Washington led to a negative backlash amongst the citizens of Washington. Anonymous, while based in Oregon, had close ties to Washington and rapidly jumped on this new issue as a way to undermine respect for existing authority throughout both Oregon and Washington.
Dissention spread like wildfire. When the news got out that the Idaho facilities were being run as for-profit prisons and that the Cannabis entrepreneurs housed therein were being contracted out to dig pipelines, farm genetically-modified potatoes and clean Trump-branded properties, California entered the fray. As we have come to know, Sir, Californians have an almost irrational hatred for pipelines, GMO foods and all things Trump.
At the height of this unfolding insurrection, Washington could not help but notice the loss of hundreds of millions in Cannabis-derived tax revenue. Those arms of the Government (the LCB, the clean air agencies, the Depts of Ecology, Health and Agriculture) that had cut side deals to further profit on the backs of the industry also saw their revenue streams slashed. The courts continued to hold them responsible for educating their children, and the numbers increasingly did not add up.
But it was when the Federal Government decided to go after those very agencies that had profited off of the sale of this Schedule 1 substance that Governor Jay Inslee had had enough.
To this day, we do not know why he decided to do this, but the Governor called up the National Guard and ordered them put a stop to the Federal intervention in his drug market. His speech before the troops is, to this day, an American classic. It was then that he stressed to them that their primary responsibility was to the State and reminded him that America was, after all, a Union of States.
Perhaps his most brilliant move was initially deploying the Guard to assume control of the Trident submarine facility, while simultaneously drugging the water supply of Joint Base Lewis McChord. Once he had possession of the SLBMs and the re-indoctrination of the peacefully captured sleeping Federal Troops was complete, Washington had -almost overnight- become a global nuclear power. Washington unilaterally seceded from the Union and told the Donald, in no uncertain terms, to go fuck himself.
Oregon, Alaska, and California looked on as Cannabis once again flowed freely in Washington, and they could not help but notice the increased fortunes of it’s businesses now that they were not burdened by Federal Taxes. High-level meetings amongst these states led to the conviction that they could function well independent of the increasingly dysfunctional Federal Administration.
Two things were, however, missing. They needed a national bank and they were somewhat lacking in the natural resources necessary to thrive as an independent nation.
PMP: and that is when we got involved, correct?
XD: Yes, Sir, but we already had a significant presence all along the West Coast … from Alaska all the way down to California. The ongoing “Canadian Conspiracy” that was almost derailed by that documentary years ago, had put in place key operatives throughout the entertainment, technology, and Cannabis industries up and down the coast. When the secession began, we were already in place ready to offer these anarchistic states a new home.
When we let them taste our beer, and when we introduced them to Cannabis-infused poutine, we caught their attention.
When we offered them free healthcare and affordable quality education for all, we won their hearts.
Finally, when we explained to them that our Parliamentary system does not contain an Electoral College, we had them by what their southern neighbors often refer to as cojones.
PMP: and this led directly to the Summit in Banff?
XD: Yes. We gathered the Governors of each State together, including Idaho following the operation mounted by Washington’s National Guard to free the internment camp prisoners resulted in the annexation of that state. We met in the Banff Springs Hotel under the Banner of “Higher Together, At the Top of the World”. We wined them, we dined them, we dabbed them and we seduced them.
As you know, Mr. Prime Ministerial President, our Union of Provinces and States is now one of the largest economies on the planet. We are a nuclear power, and we are universally recognized as producing the best Cannabis on the planet.
Your brilliant decision to offer free Cannabis and food to North Korea in exchange for their missiles has clinched our position and has us on a trajectory to supplant the United Remaining States of America as the Leader of the free world within the next 10 years.
PMP: So, am I correct in stating that much of where we thankfully are now is attributable to this plant?
XD: In a way, Sir. But what really led to the ascendance of Cannadafornia and to the rapid decline of America was the absolutely inept way in which the profit-mongers down south co-opted the legislative and regulatory system of their Union and the states that comprised it to feed their short-term needs.
As Canadians, we have always thought more strategically. We have approached the governance of our people with sensibility, compassion and decency. We have applied intelligence to the running of our Country and we have respected our citizenry as thinking feeling beings.
As Cannadafornians, we continue those grand traditions and, with the planned inclusion of Spanish as our third official language, we join the ranks of Switzerland in truly embracing cultural diversity.
We, Sir, are the melting pot of today and tomorrow. We, Sir, ARE the future.
At it’s core, we have the Liquor and Cannabis Board of Washington to thank for much of our current success.
PMP: Thank-you, Xenefont. You have served me and our people well. When I address the Citizens of Cannadafornia next week on the 10th anniversary of our expansion, I intend to do two things.
The first will be to name Nov 1 as a new National Holiday to be called “American Idiot” day. This will be in recognition of how the idiocy of both American Drug Policy and the idiocy of the WSLCB enabled this wonderful Union we now enjoy. Green Day has committed to playing at the event with Neil Young.
The second will be to commute the remaining sentences of the LCB and to allow them to leave the Idaho internment camp. Their behavior regulating the first State-legal Cannabis market was certainly criminal, but we are Cannadafornians and we are merciful.
Alright then, wanna dab?