Trailblazing the Washington Cannabis Market

Trailblazing the Washington Cannabis Market

W.O.W. Weed’s Susy Wilson interviews Adam Smith of one of Washington’s first and now leading cultivation businesses, Avitas Agriculture.

September 12, 2016

This article originally appeared in the July/August print edition of Cannabis Business Times. To subscribe, click here.

In 2012, Adam Smith left his high-profile career behind (he had worked as a program manager at Microsoft and a senior product manager at Disney before becoming ESPN’s vice president of Global Digital Business Operations) and moved to Washington state on the eve of its legalization of recreational marijuana, under Initiative 502. He and Jason Smit, an old friend of Smith’s who had spent more than a decade growing medical cannabis, quickly filed all the paperwork with the Secretary of State, and Arlington-based Avitas Agriculture was born.

The next year was spent participating in Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) meetings: staying on top of LCB rules, along with Department of Revenue taxation rulings and county zoning laws, says Smith. When the latter didn’t quite work out how he hoped (more on this below), Smith opted for a 4,200-square-foot indoor facility under a Tier 2 license for facilities between 2,000 and 10,000 square feet.

After growing his 22-employee operation into one of the state’s highest-grossing Tier 2 producer/processors (at press time), Smith, who is the sole owner of Avitas, turned his sights toward Salem, Ore., where his new 12,000-square-foot indoor growing and processing facility is being finalized.

This issue's Guest Interviewer is W.O.W. Weed’s founder and lead grower Susy Wilson, who is a co-founder of the Cannabis Farmer’s Council, a grassroots, growers advocacy group in Washington, which aims to keep growers involved in the legislative process. Here, Wilson talks with Smith about his path to success, the realities of what success means in the Washington market, things he would have done differently, and much more.

To read the full article in our July/August edition, click here.