First movers in new industries have great advantages. Microsoft, Starbucks, and Amazon benefited greatly from having good ideas early and building on that head-start. Washington was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, which gives us an opportunity to lead in yet another growing industry. Someone has to research this stuff. Washington may get to take that lead.
In some ways, marijuana is just another crop, just like many of the other crops our colleges support with research and advice. That knowledge is more intellectual property, and whoever owns that property can benefit greatly, as before. Unfortunately, our state has figured out how to license and regulate growing, selling, and using marijuana, but not how to research it so it could be grown, sold, and used more intelligently. According to an article in The Stranger, there’s one big hurdle.
“But there's one final hurdle before the scientists can get to work: The legislature required that a third-party scientific reviewer evaluate the scientific merits for each applicant, and as of now, the WSLCB hasn't found any acceptable scientific reviewers.“ - The Stranger
While it may sound like fun and a dream job to be that “third-party scientific reviewer”, no parties are involved but lots of reviewing is. The real problem is funding. A reviewer has to be prepared to accept an unknown number of applicants, and unknowns are hard to fund.
Oregon is skipping ahead without the scientific review, relying on liquor, health, and agricultural agencies to review for within their specialties.
If not here, then somewhere. The need for the information already exists and the demand increases with each new state that legalizes marijuana. The potential exists for our economy to diversify and grow, yet again.