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Associated Press Photos: Prospectors seek fortune in legal pot

By Gene Johnson

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Nov. 18 2013 8:28 a.m. MST

Cecilia Sivertson worked for eight years as a paralegal in the prosecutor's office for Washington's most populous county. She helped make sure people paid child support and tracked down deadbeat dads. It was a rewarding, stressful and sometimes depressing job.

After her husband died in a car accident in 2001, she decided she needed a more upbeat line of work and joined a labeling business.

Sivertson, 55, has epilepsy and arthritis in her hands. About two years ago, she says, she noticed improvement in both when she started using marijuana. Last spring, she began making products infused with cannabis oil under her "Nana's Secret" line. Her specialty is pot-infused soda — with the soda concentrate produced by a client of the labeling business.

The Alabama native says she's applying to become a licensed marijuana processor so her sodas and other items can be sold in retail pot stores.

CANNABIS: A FORCE FOR GOOD

Paul Schrag has a simple philosophy: He hopes to use his skills to do the most good in the world.

For a while, that meant working in journalism, enticed by its power to shape public discourse. Before being laid off in 2009, he worked as a reporter for the Business Examiner, a biweekly publication in Tacoma.

Nowadays, it means working in the pot industry.

The 40-year-old says he's been growing marijuana since 1999 and uses it to treat lifelong neck pain. He began working at a medical marijuana collective, where part of his job entails coming up with a marketing and public education plan to help erase any stigma associated with cannabis use.

He believes the medical and social benefits of the plant are only just starting to be understood. He plans to work as a grower's vice president of marketing, research and development, and believes his knowledge of pot and business will help.

"I'm one of those rare cats that get both," he says.

Follow Johnson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle

Follow AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo

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