Vancouver WA Pot Shops Report Traffic Dips After Oregon Sales Launch

By Sue Vorenberg

WASHINGTON: Pot shops in Vancouver, Washington, reported weekend traffic dips of 10 to 20 percent after the launch of Oregon’s early start recreational cannabis sales on Oct. 1, 2015.

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Stores in the city, including two of the three largest pot shops in Washington, have been heavily dependent on Portland consumers, who frequently crossed the border to Washington while recreational pot remained illegal in Oregon.

At some Vancouver stores, Portland traffic made up about 50 percent of their business. So traffic dips of 10 to 20 percent aren’t as bad as they could have been.

Main Street Marijuana, the largest retail store in Washington, dropped its sales prices by 25 percent a few days prior to Oct. 1 in hopes of luring Portlanders over the border.

Ramsey Hamide, the owner, said that seems to have helped stave off a larger traffic dip – but it is still hurting the company’s bottom line.

Vancouver-Based Marijuana Shop Has Highest Sales In Washington, Thanks To Oregon Buyers

WASHINGTON:  Oregon marijuana users helped propel a Vancouver retailer to the top recreational weed shop in Washington.

Main Street Marijuana sold $1.8 million in May alone, the state liquor control board announced this week, besting Seattle-based Uncle Ike’s $1.5 million. Another Vancouver-based shop, New Vansterdam, ranked third in the state with $1.2 million in May sales.

Marijuana sales across Washington have continued to increase since the state began allowing legal sales of the recreational drug last year. In May, Washington marijuana shops sold a combined $41.5 million.

Main Street’s Marijuana Traffic Packs The Parking

WASHINGTON:  Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Main Street Marijuana has drawn more visitors — and more traffic — to Uptown Village.

Some businesses say they’re happy to see the pot shop’s success, which has given them a new influx of customers, but a handful of residents near the shop say they’ve been plagued with inconsiderate out-of-town drivers who sometimes park directly in front of private driveways.

And it looks like things are just going to get busier as more businesses and a new apartment building enter into the equation.

“There’s definitely a growing concern about the lack of parking,” said Michelle Brinning, owner of Cellar 55 and a member of the Uptown Village Association. “The neighborhood is growing. There are more businesses, and that brings in a certain amount of traffic.”

 

Washington’s Marijuana Market Mellows

WASHINGTON:  Ramsey Hamide looked across the packed shelves and piled boxes of product in the cramped backroom of Main Street Marijuana and stretched out his arms.

“Look at this,” the store manager said, smiling victoriously. “Nonstop, growers are coming, bringing us samples, new products.”

It’s a vastly different world from six months ago, when Main Street, Clark County‘s first recreational marijuana store, opened its doors on July 9 to widespread shortages.

For the first few months, Hamide spent days on the road, courting growers across the state and trying to build relationships that would secure at least a modest amount of stock for his mostly barren shelves.

But by November and December, the situation had changed significantly, with growers coming to Vancouver to court him, hawking a wide variety of strains, edibles, lozenges and even some oils and concentrates.

Washington Pot Sales Allay Some Anxiety

WASHINGTON:  I thought I’d tell you about my recent experience with shopping for marijuana in Washington State.

Earlier this summer, I vacationed in Portland, Oregon, to attend a wedding. Family and friends from across the states came to participate in the fun. One day, a few of us crossed the bridge that links Portland with Vancouver, Washington, to scope out the wedding site. As we drove through the scenic town, we happened to see a small shop with the name “Main Street Marijuana.” It suddenly dawned on us that Washington had just become the second state, after Colorado, to allow the sale of recreational marijuana. Legal sales had only started two weeks before our arrival.

A member of our party, who shall remain unnamed, asked if we could stop at the store so she could buy a couple of joints. She hadn’t smoked pot for over three decades. After raising four children and baby-sitting nine grandchildren, she was ready to relive her past as a ’60s flower child. How could we refuse her request?

After parking our car, we approached the store on foot. Just as we arrived, a young man was putting up a “closed” sign. It was only 11:00 in the morning. I asked him why he was closing so early. He told us that he was closing in protest to the high prices legal marijuana growers were charging for their crop. The growers were squeezing out the profit for the sellers.

 

Local Marijuana Stores Flush With Supply

WASHINGTON:  Ramsey Hamide grinned as he leaned back in his chair, looking out at piles of palm-sized plastic bags stacked in containers in the back room at Main Street Marijuana.

For the first time since the store he manages opened three months ago, Hamide found himself in an entirely unfamiliar situation. With two safes bulging and a table packed with product awaiting sale, Hamide couldn’t accept any more product. In fact, on that Wednesday afternoon last week, he found himself turning some growers down.

“We’re pretty much at capacity on what we can store here,” Hamide said. “We’re full. I can’t take anything more until we sell this.”

Both he and his brother, fellow manager Adam Hamide, looked visibly relaxed and happy — relieved after what’s been a bumpy shortage-filled launch to Initiative 502, which legalized marijuana in the state.