Despite Increasing Sales, Legal Pot Businesses Warn Of Impending Disaster If Changes Not Made

WASHINGTON:  The amount of legal pot sold in our state continues to increase each month since Washington’s first retail stores opened last summer.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board reports sales of nearly $18.5 million in January alone.

But the industry is sending up red flags, warning a number of problems from high prices to a glut of pot threatens to derail the burgeoning recreational market.

A steady stream of customers filed through Seattle’s Cannabis City in the SoDo neighborhood on a recent weekday afternoon to buy legal marijuana. Despite strong sales, general manager Amber McGowan says the shop and many others are struggling to make a profit under the weight of heavy taxes that have kept prices sky high compared to the street and the dozens of unregulated medical marijuana outlets operating around the state.

Recreational Marijuana Store Owners in Washington State Find Business Taxing

WASHINGTON:  Reports from Washington state are that the recreational marijuana business is having trouble paying its taxes and sales are moving to the black market. The irony is that the taxation and regulation of pot was a selling point in legalization.

One example is that of a James Lathrop, the owner of Cannabis City, the first recreational marijuana retailer to open in Seattle. He is lamenting the fact that he is not making profits because of taxes.

Lathrop told MainStreet that in Washington marijuana products are taxed at “a multiple compound rate.” There is 25% tax on what the grower ships to the processor. Then there is another 25% tax from the processor to the retailer. The retailer, Lathrop and his colleagues, then add another 25% tax which is passed on to the customer.

Today In Seattle Pot Shops: Ocean Greens Now Open, Mello Times Coming…Soon?

WASHINGTON:  Seattle sat at one pot shop for three months before this week when Uncle Ike’s joined Cannabis City as your local legal marijuana dealers. Just like how once someone broke the four-minute mile barrier,suddenly everyone could do it, pot shops are starting to grow up all around town.

Seattle’s third pot shop, Ocean Greens, held its soft-opening on Thursday (at 4:20, obviously). Located at 9724 Aurora Ave North, the place “features a 1960s-era bar with a modern, contemporary aesthetic.”

Meanwhile, will Mello Times ever open in Central District? Despite the fact that owner John Branch was one of May lottery winners, his storefront still has yet to open. He moved one step closer this week buy acquiring an actual storefront. Via CHS, Branch purchased a 4,800 square-foot property on the 2400 block of E Union. Looks like there’s still a lot of work to be done before they open so be on the lookout for Seattle Pot Shop No. 4 elsewhere.


Are Location Restrictions On Marijuana Stores Excessive?

WASHINGTON:  A year and a half after 1-502 was first passed by Washington State voters, Seattle’s first recreational marijuana stores have begun opening their doors. But amid concerns over high prices and inconsistent product availability, many of the industry’s business owners have expressed concern over the current regulations governing where recreational marijuana stores can begin setting up shop.

Due to federal law first established during the Reagan Administration, which still classifies marijuana as a controlled substance, recreational marijuana stores must be 1,000 feet away from “an elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or arcade where admission is not restricted to those age 21 and older.”

Under this regulation, the large number of parks and schools across the Seattle area has made placement of recreational marijuana stores a difficulty. The Washington State Liquor Control Board previously attempted to redefine the 1,000 foot radius to be “along common path of travel” rather than “as the crow flies,” a classification that would have opened up additional areas for zoning across the city, but the decision was ultimately overruled by the federal government.

James Lathrop, owner of Seattle’s first recreational marijuana store Cannabis City, has said that the current restrictions are “crushing” for his business and the burgeoning industry, especially when coupled with the slow licensing process of the Liquor Control Board and the ever-present threat of the federal government pulling the plug on recreational marijuana stores entirely.


Legal Marijuana Milestone Heads For Seattle Museum

WASHINGTON:  The first recreational marijuana sold legally in Seattle is headed to the city’s Museum of History and Industry.

The woman who waited all night to be first in line at the Cannabis City store, 65-year-old Deb Greene, plans to donate her pot on Tuesday to the Seattle museum on South Lake Union.

Cannabis City says it also will donate items from its opening day. Legal pot sales began in Washington on July 8.


Seattle’s Cannabis City Grand Re-Opening July 25th

WASHINGTON:  Cannabis City would like to invite you to join us for our grand re-opening, Friday, July 25th. We have received more product and are eager to once again supply customers with quality cannabis.

We are asking for your help to spread the word with your friends and family to come down and participate in our second grand “re-opening.”

We apologize to all if our recent closing has caused inconvenience. We hope that everyone understands this new industry has hiccups which can result in delays, but we seek to provide the highest of services and product to our customers.

Thank you very much for coming July 8th and we are looking forward to seeing you July 25th.


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Store Location: 2733 4th Ave S, Seattle, Washington

There’s Very Good and Very Bad News for Washington’s Pot Business

WASHINGTON:  For pot smokers in Seattle, it’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times.

The bad news: When Washington became the second state to allow legal sales of recreational marijuana last week, Seattle only had a single store, Cannabis City, open for business. It ran out of weed in three days.

Cannabis City opened its doors for the first time on Tuesday with 4.5 kg of marijuana ready to be purchased. By the end of Thursday, it had all been bought. It’s even more impressive when you realize that customers were only allowed to buy a maximum of 6 grams each, which means the store made at least750 individual sales.

 The good news: People in Washington really want weed. Washington’s first retail weed store quickly and easily broke Colorado’s marijuana sales record. Though nay-sayers argued that demand wasn’t sustainable at the time, the state’s doing just fine (in more ways than one.)


The Mother Of Marijuana Legalization: Pot Comes ‘Out Of The Shadows’

WASHINGTON:  Alison Holcomb, criminal justice director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state, is known in these parts as the mother of marijuana legalization. She drafted Initiative 502, which voters passed overwhelmingly in 2012; the measure struck down prohibitions on recreational pot use and led to the creation of Washington’s marijuana market.

On Tuesday, she helped inaugurate Seattle’s first legal pot retailer, buying 4 grams of O.G.’s Pearl at Cannabis City in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, after giving a rousing speech about the evils of prohibition and the benefits of decriminalization:

“What we are tackling today is the supply side of the equation. We’re moving marijuana out of the shadows, regulating it for consumer and community safety, dedicating new tax revenues to keeping kids healthy and keeping them in school. We’re finally taking marijuana out of the criminal justice system and treating it as a public health issue.”

The day before the doors opened, Holcomb talked to the Los Angeles Times about how the new market will work, worries about shortages, and what the Evergreen State learned from Colorado, which began selling legal recreational marijuana on Jan. 1.


Marijuana Shortage Seen Ahead Of Washington State Retail Pot Rollout

WASHINGTON:  His glass pipes are on display and final regulatory hurdles nearly cleared, but the biggest concern for Cannabis City owner James Lathrop as he opens his Seattle pot shop this week is the possibility of running out of mind-altering bud in a matter of hours.

“What do you do when your shelves are empty? Do I just send everybody home? Do we try and stay open? I can’t pay people if we aren’t selling anything,” said Lathrop, who expects to become one of Washington state’s first legal marijuana retailers this week as the state issues licenses.

The state is poised on Monday to become the second after Colorado to allow retail sales of recreational marijuana to adults, under a heavily regulated and taxed system that voters approved in November 2012. Stores could begin operations as early as Tuesday, with up to 20 expected to open statewide.

Pot regulators, business owners and analysts say pot could sell out in Washington within hours or days at the few shops slated to open on Tuesday. That is largely because of limited harvests by licensed growers and processors, or because they failed to clear regulatory hurdles to get their product to market.