(Jeff Chiu, Associated Press file)

Washington grower to auction off 500 pounds of pot, ‘go on vacation’

PROSSER, Wash. — A marijuana grower in Prosser is planning to auction about 500 pounds of pot in Washington’s first state-sanctioned marijuana auction.

Randy Williams, the owner of Fireweed Farms in the Yakima Valley, said the auction will occur Saturday at his 450-plant outdoor farm. The marijuana will be sold in lots ranging from 5 pounds to 100 pounds, the Oregonian reported Thursday.

This is the first pot auction in the state, which legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012, said Mikhail Carpenter, a spokesman for the Washington Liquor Control Board, which oversees the marijuana industry.

Strain Theory: Check out our marijuana reviews organized by type — sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids, ditto with indicas.

Only people licensed to produce, process and sell marijuana in Washington may participate in the auction, which will be attended by state marijuana enforcement authorities, Carpenter said.

Williams said he has had so much interest that he’s worried he won’t have enough parking. Everyone who comes to the auction has to bring their state-issued processor or retailer license.

By auctioning off his pot, he said he doesn’t have to bother with packaging.

He also opted to auction off his crop because he doesn’t know how to set a price, Williams said. He charged $1,500 a pound for 68 pounds he sold earlier this year to help cover expenses, he said.

“I just want to get rid of it and take off and go on vacation for a while,” he said. “Whatever I get, I get.”

All things Hemp: Learn more about the return of hemp to U.S. agriculture and read reviews for products that utilize this cannabis cousin of marijuana

The auction is a sign of where the industry is headed, said Greg James, publisher of Marijuana Venture, a Seattle-based trade magazine for the marijuana industry.

Farmers of conventional crops don’t typically handle their own processing and packaging, turning instead to distributors and other middlemen, he said. He expects marijuana producers will eventually do that as well.

“It works that way in every single other business,” James said.

The cannabis at the auction will be dried, trimmed and lab-tested. An advertisement for the event showed large outdoor marijuana plants on Williams’ farm, which produces more than two dozen strains.