Hysteria over ‘reefer madness’ derails promise of a better future| Letters

The following is a letter enclosed in what was to be the last paycheck of the employees of San Juangrown:

To all employees of San Juan Sungrown

Firstly, let me take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who joined our company and helped produce some of the highest quality, most well-branded, unique and sustainable grown marijuana in Washington state.

It truly has been a pleasure meeting and being able to employ all of you. For the dedication, hard work, and excitement you showed to this new industry, and to me personally, I am sincerely grateful.

It is therefore with great regret that I must inform you San Juan Sungrown will be permanently ceasing active operations on San Juan Island, effective immediately. Vigorous opposition from those against marijuana production near them, or on San Juan Island period, mixed with the local business environment simply proved too much to overcome.

The burden of these continuing challenges unfortunately left no other choice.

It is my great hope that all of you will easily transition into the next phase of employment and life, and that the short time we were able to work together was one you enjoyed.

To the extent that myself, and family are able, we will help in the search for new and alternative employment to those seeking it. May blessings and health be upon you and all of those you love.

With great respect, David Rice, Owner, San Juan Sungrown, LLC

Having worked on the island in the restaurant business for some 20-odd years, the opportunity to finally land a good-paying, year-round job with San Juan Sungrown was for me the light at the end of the tunnel.

For the first time, I landed a job in November. Prospects for the future suddenly became a reality. Imagine my disappointment at receiving this letter (above).

Once again, I am faced with struggling to make ends meet until spring, when the tourist season begins again.

I find it hard to understand why this happened. Marijuana has been legalized, with I-502 approved in our county by some 68 percent, the highest in any county in Washington state. Yet, the “reefer madness” hysteria has prevailed at the expense of year-round, full-time employment for 16 people.

Bill Cooper

San Juan Island