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Legal marijuana in Washington sprouts ‘potrepreneurs’

In her West Seattle home, Mary White is adding cannabis cooking as a class offering through her business, The Pantry Raid. Many who would never smoke marijuana are showing an interest in learning how to cook with pot. (Linda Thomas photo)

Standing in her kitchen in West Seattle, Mary White giggles as she reads recipes from a Cannabis Cookbook.

“Stoned starters. I can’t believe it’s pot butter,” she laughs.

White is a pioneer, similar to those who first crossed the threshold when the prohibition of alcohol ended in Washington in 1932.

Today, possessing a small amount of marijuana is legal in Washington. It’s still illegal to grow, sell or even give it away.

“You don’t want to do it if you’re under 21, because that’s not smart,” says White who admits she’s had about 35 years of experience with weed.

“A little bit is good. It’s like a little bit of chocolate, or a little bit of foie gras, or a little bit of whatever. I think a little bit is okay. And so now, we’re going to make butter.”

White teaches cooking classes and hosts a podcast. Her business, The Pantry Raid, is evolving as our state law changes.

People who’ve never smoked pot, are suddenly curious about cannabis and its potential benefits. Others are becoming what I call ‘potrepreneurs’ as they develop marijuana-based businesses.

She anticipates a demand for cannabis cooking classes.

“The benefit of cooking with it is that you have much more control over how much you’re ingesting. You’re not inhaling a bunch of hot smoke which is really tough on the lungs, and you don’t need very much of it. A little goes a long way, and it lasts a long time,” she says.

Some people have a strong reaction to pot when it’s baked into foods.

“It’s not relaxing for me. I will vacuum the ceiling, so it’s really not my drug,” she says as she opens a plastic bag containing less than an ounce of marijuana.

While she hopes it’ll someday be legal to grow on her deck, for the moment she gets it from a friend, who gets it from a friend. A quarter of an ounce cost her $75.

There are two main types of cannabis – Sativa and Indica. Most people smoke sativa because it’s apparently stronger.

White prefers using marijuana as an ingredient because guests can control the amount they ingest.

She pinches the bud with her fingers and sprinkles flecks of dried, green marijuana it into a sauce pan of melted butter.

“There’s a real herbaceous green sort of scent to it,” White says. “You can see how the butter is turning green. I’m assuming that’s all the goodness coming out of the marijuana. The heat activates the THC.”

Tetrahydrocannabino is the active ingredient in marijuana that acts upon specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, kicking off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the “high.”

Within a year the simmering pot industry in Washington could be more like a rolling boil.

The state estimates a fully functioning marijuana market could gross more than $1 billion in gross sales a year.

In our state more than 360,000 people are projected to buy marijuana at state-licensed stores which are expected to open late in 2013 or early 2014.

Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.

“It just means that we won’t all be going to jail for 5 years for smoking a couple of joints and having a Bridesmaids marathon, which sounds like a really good idea right now doesn’t it?” she says. “Let’s watch TV and eat Cheetos.”

Jenny Durkin won’t be joining the pajama party.

The U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, sent a statement reminding residents the federal ban on marijuana is still in place.

“Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on Dec. 6 in Washington state,” Durkin writes, “growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.”


I did not try Mary’s ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Pot Butter,’ but during the interview she licked the spoon.

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