State pot sales top $14 million, tax revenue hits $3.5 million as some stores prosper

Retail marijuana sales in Washington have edged above $14 million since the first store opened just over two months ago.

Total sales for the 10 weeks through Monday, Sept. 15, totaled $14,050,206, the state Liquor Control Board reported Tuesday.

From that total, the state counts excise taxes of $3,512,551.

In Colorado, the first state to legalize retail marijuana, revenue from taxes, licenses and fees reached $7.4 million in August.

The first 15 days of September marked sales of $3.8 million in Washington, well above the $3.2 million collected during the 25 days of July that followed the opening of the first retail store.

According to data provided by the board, the largest single day for sales was Aug. 15, which garnered a total of $895,925 that generated $214,981 in excise taxes. Fridays and Saturdays have been the most popular days for sales.

Thirty-two of 55 approved stores have opened in the state, a board representative said this week.

A quick survey this week of the stores open in Pierce County shows that business is up overall, and ahead by one location that opened last weekend.

•  Noel Roberts waited patiently on Monday, expecting a delivery to supplement the one strain of marijuana offered at Mary Mart, which has opened at 3005 Sixth Ave.

“Product is very short,” he said.

•  “Things are going great,” said Alex Rodriguez, owner of Rainier on Pine at 3111 S. Pine St. in Tacoma’s Nalley Valley.

Rodriguez noted that his store has finally secured a strong line of growers and processors and that his inventory seems stable. He also said the majority of his customers, “a good 90 percent,” are 40 years old or older.

•  At Clear Choice Cannabis, 8001 S. Hosmer St., manager Jake Schrader said, “The biggest problem we’ve had so far is inventory.”

Celebrating its first whole month in business, Schrader said “We’ve been open since our opening,” meaning that thanks to proper inventory control, Clear Choice did not close temporarily after opening day as some other retail outlets were forced to do.

“Business is very good, and it’s getting better,” he said.

Schrader also noted that some suppliers have engaged in what he characterized as “price gouging,” taking advantage of a shortage of cannabis by raising prices.

“We’ve got a list of people we’ll never deal with,” he said.

Schrader said he expected increased sales of glassware — pipes, bongs and fanciful glass art — as the holidays approach. Likewise he expects an increase in customers once Bass Pro Shops opens nearby.

•  Although the store did appear to be open, no spokesman was available this week at Route 7, formerly known as Creative Retail Management, at 7046 Pacific Ave.

•  The fifth store approved by the state to open, Green Collar at 10422 Pacific Ave., remains closed, according to an employee, because of a lack of marijuana from growers. The store also faces a moratorium on retail marijuana sales in unincorporated Pierce County.

Of the three state-approved Thurston County locations:

•  Deon Kappenman, budtender at Green Lady Marijuana at 3044 Pacific Ave. in Olympia, reports, “We have marijuana in stock. Business has been picking up gradually. We’ve reliably been able to keep stock on our shelves. We’re stoked.”

She said the store offers a selection of “edibles,” or marijuana-infused consumables. The state has approved only a handful of manufacturers of edibles, and not all stores in the area offer such products.

•  A recorded message from 420 Carpenter, located at 422 Carpenter Road S.E. in Lacey, notes hours of opening on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

•  Marijuana Mercantile, licensed at 1405 Yelm Ave. E. in Yelm, plans to open in mid-October. “We’re still waiting on the City of Yelm,” said a spokesman.