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Farmer Makes $600,000 in First US Marijuana Auction

Russ Belville

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Shoppers like to visit CostCo or Sam’s Club to stock up on necessary essentials, where buying in bulk can save a lot of money. For marijuana consumers used to paying $300 to $500 an ounce for good marijuana, getting sun-grown Washington marijuana for $125 an ounce must seem like a steal.

But it wasn’t a theft and nothing illegal occurred on Saturday when Fireweed Farms of Prosser, Washington, held America’s first bulk marijuana auction. Owner Randy Williams sold about 300 pounds of marijuana to state-licensed processors and retailers for about $600,000 — or about $125 per ounce, on average.

The auction brought more interested parties than Williams had expected, requiring him to borrow the use of a parking lot across the street for the 36 potential buyers who traveled across the state for the auction.

Monitoring the auction for the Washington State Liquor Control Board was Lt. Jeremy Wissing, who called the auction “a well-organized event” that “isn’t a circus.” Prospective buyers could open and smell the bags of marijuana they were bidding on, but no consumption of marijuana was allowed, disappointing Nazareth Victoria, a 50-year-old licensed marijuana processor from Seattle, who explained that he didn’t bid on any marijuana for sale because, “smoking the product is the ultimate test to tell you the quality.”

Williams harvested and dried the marijuana for the quick sale in order to spend more time with his family. The auction was held in a heated tent and marijuana was sold by variety in bags ranging from a couple hundred grams to a kilogram. Eleven pounds of Williams’ sale was earmarked for a donation to Prosser’s grade schools, raising about $14,000.

While Saturday’s auction was the first of its kind, Williams believes other growers will soon be copying this sales method. “It’s just a different way of moving his product,” WSLCB’s Lt. Wissing said. Confidence Analytics, a state-certified laboratory, tested and labeled the potency of each strain as well as its harvest date, in accordance with state regulations.

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