Support for marijuana producer | Guest Column

by Carlin Hayworth

Orcas Island

I am a lifelong Orcas Island native, born here in 1985. I enjoy a very good, stable, government-regulated job working for Aarikka Tuss and Max Brand at NW Connoisseurs, an I-502 compliant marijuana producer/processor. I would like to share some feelings as an individual.

The expression of the recent community opposition to NW Connoisseurs’ move from 82 Lagoon Road in Deer Harbor to our property on 46 Hope Lane in Eastsound has disappointed me as a local. Very, very few parties have contacted our business voicing their concerns to us personally, visited our facility or even learned who owns the business and who works here. Nine of us work here, all locals and almost all raised here, and we all stand to lose our livelihoods and more if we were to be denied the opportunity to move to our new property. To have so much opposition based on misinformation and fear can be discouraging (especially to us kids who grew up here) and while we don’t expect every person to agree with the changing laws or with what we’re doing, we are accessible and contributing members of this community and are here to answer any questions.

Our team has sacrificed immense time and effort to build this company; tremendous funds have been put forth to keep up with the latest technology and comply with every government and county regulation that applies to us. We take pride in being a very transparent business and every member of our team would be happy to address any concerns or queries that people might have. This is new territory for all of us and we expect a certain amount of trepidation from some community members.

I hope that the persons in the community who have concerns will consider contacting NW Connoisseurs directly for more facts rather than using misinformation to fuel petitions and hurtful rumors. There is also a wealth of information online about the I-502 regulations that might be informative and helpful for those against our move to Hope Lane.

I am very passionate about this company, which was founded by people I grew up with and believe in. For every concern we’ve heard through the grapevine, we’ve already had a plan in place to address it. We care about this community quite a lot and we would prefer to have an open dialogue instead of a battle from the beginning. Every business in this county deserves the respect of direct communication, regardless of personal opinions on any part.