Pot Farmer Can't Give His $14K Away

School, charity turn down cash raised at huge marijuana auction
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2014 12:18 PM CST
Pot Farmer Can't Give His $14K Away
In this Nov. 15, 2014, photo, Leo Gontmakher, a marijuana processor with Northwest Cannabis Solutions, smells a bag of marijuana during the auction at Fireweed Farms in Prosser, Wash.   (AP Photo/The Tri-City Herald, Andrew Jansen)

Randy Williams raised a boatload of money last month in Washington state's first recreational pot auction—$600,000, to be exact. But when he tried to spread the wealth locally, offering $14,000 to the Prosser School District and the Boys and Girls Club, his donation was refused, the AP reports. The school district—whose superintendent has been a vocal opponent of marijuana legalization in Washington—said no because it "would send an inconsistent message to … students," as the Yakima Herald-Republic puts it. The district also says there's more pot now in its schools since legalization. And the executive director of the regional Boys and Girls Club said in a press release Monday that "due to the controversial nature of the origin of these particular funds … we believe that accepting this donation will distract our community from [our] mission."

Prosser residents interviewed by KBOI2 aren't sure these groups made a smart decision in turning the money down. "I thought it was kind of foolish. … They need the money in a lot of ways," a Vietnam veteran says. Another adds, "They take money from the lottery, they take money from the wineries, they take money from breweries, distilleries, and some of the marijuana tax that's going to the state is coming back to them. They should have taken [this] money." In the meantime, Williams, who owns Fireweed Farms, told the Herald-Republic on Monday that his phone was "ringing off the hook with people who want that money." He ended up donating $1,000 to the Prosser VW post and $13,000 to a local family in need that wanted to remain anonymous. (Postal workers on Long Island decided to donate pot deliveries—to themselves.)

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