First Recreational Pot Shops in Washington Expect Shortages, Long Lines
Today’s (July 8, 2014) start of recreational marijuana sales in Washington state are expected to draw more customers than the pot shops’ supply can handle. People looking to be a part of this historic day will line up outside retail dispensaries all over the state.
But, many will likely be disappointed in the amounts they are able to buy and the prices they will have to pay to be a part of history.
Few Shops Open For First Day
The government of Washington state will eventually license 334 recreational marijuana dispensaries. How many will be open for business on the first day? Just 24. Seattle will only have one store open on the first day within the city limits.
The Liquor Control Board (the state agency charged with the oversight of the new pot industry) admits that the beginning of Washington’s recreational sales will not be easy. “It’s going to be a bumpy start,” says Randy Simmons, the Board’s deputy director. In fact, of the eventual 334 retail pot stores, state officials expect only 100 to be open by the end of 2014.
High Demand, Low Supply
Because of the delay in licensing growers, most growers aren’t expecting their first full shipments to be ready until late summer. That means the recreational pot shops in Washington will be forced to keep prices high and ration the amount each customer can purchase at one time.
Amber McGowan, manager of Cannabis City in Seattle, told reporters that the first shipment of pot will arrive at her store this morning. They will receive 2,265 bags containing 2 grams each. Each bag will be priced at $54. Considering they expect over 5,000 people to line up at their door today, they will completely sell out leaving thousands with nothing to buy.
“It’s fairly sparse. We only have 10 pounds which will sell out the first day, no doubt about that,” McGowan added.
Unlike Colorado, where estimates put marijuana edible sales at about one-half of all recreational pot sales to date, Washington has not yet approved any manufacturer to distribute edible products for recreational use. Only two edible makers have submitted their kitchens for state inspection and one did not pass inspection, the other results are pending.
Colorado Will Remain the Center of Pot Tourism
While Washington state is just now going through the trial and error of starting a completely new legal recreational pot market, Colorado is now over six months into recreational sales.
Colorado, like today in Washington, experienced shortages, long lines, and few stores when they started recreational pot sales on January 1 of this year. But now six months into retail marijuana, Colorado has over 120 recreational pot shops state-wide, with over 60 shops in the Denver city limits.
Those looking to take a “pot vacation” in Washington this summer would do much better visiting Colorado, where many recreational marijuana shop owners contend that out-of-state customers make up as much as 50% of their business. Until Washington state has more stores and supply available, Colorado will remain the capitol of recreational weed.