Pot-infused edible goods likely to grow in popularity

Barring a blocking move by federal authorities, marijuana will soon be legal in Washington state. But how will it be grown and sold?

And many people who legally buy pot won't necessarily be smoking it -- they'll be eating it.

Foodstuffs and drinks with marijuana in them are called edibles, and in the medical marijuana field, it's a business that has been growing year by year. That's not expected to slow down now that recreational marijuana will soon be legal.

Just about anything you can eat can also be infused with THC from marijuana, from cookies and cakes, to sodas and even energy drinks.

Terrace Raaymakers runs a medical marijuana dispensary in Puyallup. He has hundreds of products to eat, but also pot-infused lotions, face creams and lip balm.

Raaymakers says the popularity of edibles is blowing up. Nearly 50 percent of his patients use them as an alternative to smoking pot.

“You're not taking any carcinogens, everything is stripped out of there, and you're just using the natural elements of the plants,” he said.

The popularity of edibles is expected to continue with recreational users, when stores begin opening next year. Supporters of Initiative 502 say the new law will help clean up the current edible industry.  But some are worried they'll be squeezed out.

Meghan Juhasz, also known as the ‘Kitchen Witch’, said, “I cried last night and I feel like I want to cry again, because I made two-dozen edibles for my patients today and I won't be able to continue and it hurts.”

Juhasz makes THC-infused butter. She says the new taxes and licenses she'll have to pay under the new law will put her out of business.

“It's kind of like, ‘OK, well, so sad, thanks for all your hard work but it's ours now,’ ” she said.

Juhasz worries that only big companies, perhaps from out of state, will be able to afford to be in the edible business.

Traditional bakeries and other food and beverage makers could also potentially get into the edible business.

Most probably won't consider it, however, because of the federal government, which still considers any marijuana production illegal.