Washington Stores And Growers Contemplate Costs Of Medical Marijuana integration

By Sue Vorenberg

Cannabis Daily Record

Jim Mullen, COO of The Herbery, a small upscale chain of retail cannabis shops in Vancouver, Washington, scrunched his forehead as he contemplated the costs of adding services for medical marijuana patients to his line of store offerings.

(Cedar Creek Cannabis already sells one medical-grade product at The Herbery, even though the state the medical and recreational systems have yet to merge)

It’s not that he doesn’t want to serve medical patients – he does, and will through at least one of his stores. But he added that there’s more to the equation than just opening up a new register or adding a few items to the shelves.

“It’ll cost us at least a few thousand dollars to get everyone trained, with more costs as we get everything set up,” Mullen said. “And we don’t know how many medical marijuana patients we’ll serve after doing that. But in the end you have to think, are we doing this for the community even if it costs us more as a business? We are at The Herbery, but I think we may only start off at one store until we see how it works out.”

Some patients may not bother signing up at shops because of backlash against the state registry, in which the state will keep a running list of patient names, Mullen said. And that makes estimating the number of patients that will use the system difficult.

Washington Pot Sales Still On The Rise, Despite Oregon Recreational Launch

By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record

WASHINGTON: Marijuana sales in Washington continued to grow in October, despite fears that the launch of Oregon’s recreational market would end the trend.

Washington pot stores sold $61.3 million worth of product in October, a smaller than usual gain over September sales of $59.6 million, but a gain nonetheless.

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Southwest Washington stores have been heavily dependent on customers traveling North from Oregon, especially Portland, which until Oct. 1 had no legal way for recreational customers to buy cannabis. That allowed two of Washington’s largest three stores (Main Street Marijuana and New Vansterdam) to thrive across the border from Portland in Vancouver, Washington. (Washington’s third store that’s continually in the top three is Uncle Ike’s in Seattle).

Through Oregon’s Early Start program, which lets medical dispensaries sell marijuana flower, Oregon has seen robust sales – with several sources noting about $11 million worth of product sold in the first week.

In contrast, sales have dipped in Vancouver, but not enough to counter the month by month growth that has continued across the entire state of Washington since recreational cannabis was legalized in July, 2014.

Washington’s Upward Cannabis Sales Trend May End This Month

By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record

WASHINGTON:  The steady month by month growth of Washington state’s recreational cannabis sales may come to an end in October.

The state has seen a steady uptick each month since sales began in July, 2014. But with five days to go in October and lagging sales in Southwest Washington after the launch of early start recreational sales in neighboring Oregon – that trend seems unlikely to continue.

In fiscal 2015, monthly sales grew from $47.6 million in July to $53.5 million in August to $59.5 million in September. As of October 26, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board had reported $50.1 million in monthly sales.

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Oregon’s first week of recreational sales in October, through the state’s early start program at existing medical dispensaries, netted $11 million.

Dispensaries in Southwest Washington, across the border from Portland, Oregon, reported dips in foot traffic of 15 to 20 percent since the October launch.

Sales in Washington are directly affected by Oregon legalization as two of the three largest recreational pot shops in Washington are located in Vancouver (Main Street Marijuana and New Vansterdam), right across the Columbia River from Portland.

Stores in Southwest Washington have been heavily dependent on Portland customers, who have been opting to buy their cannabis in Oregon rather than crossing the border.

Cannabis 101: Harsh Smoke And The Importance Of Curing

By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record

Fall is a great time for cannabis enthusiasts – the big outdoor harvests start to come in, the array of strains at local shops expands almost exponentially and prices drop due to the large amount of flower entering the market.

If you’re not a fan of harsh smoke (Are there people out there who actually like harsh smoke?) than there’s an important question you should ask your budtender before parting with your money: Has this product been cured properly?

Curing isn’t rocket science, but it is time consuming. When a plant is harvested, growers typically trim off the larger leaf clusters and hang the buddy branches over wires to let them dry for four to 10 days.

Once the buds feel dry, they’re removed from the branches and trimmed more closely. Then they’re placed in some sort of storage container and dried for another few weeks until they’re sticky but not brittle.

Opinions: Stigma Remains In Las Vegas Young Cannabis Scene

By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record

NEVADA: I’ll admit it. As a gourmet cannabis enthusiast I’m utterly spoiled living on the Washington-Oregon border.

I’m surrounded by two states that – while not perfect – could be considered marijuana utopias compared with most of the rest of the country. And I was reminded of that on a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Don’t get me wrong. Nevada is making good progress, including the opening of its first medical marijuana dispensary, Euphoria Wellness, in August.

And signs point to the state – or perhaps just the city of Las Vegas – legalizing recreational marijuana in the near future.

But roaming the Vegas strip is still anything but marijuana friendly – despite the area’s rampant enthusiasm for alcohol and binge drinking.

 

Opinions: Every Medical Marijuana State Should Be Fully Reciprocal

By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record

Traveling with medical marijuana is always a nerve wracking experience, filled with worry that your medicine will be seized or worse – you’ll wind up in jail.

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With any other prescription drug – including highly addictive things like Oxycodone – it’s easy enough to travel to another state and fill your prescription while you’re there.

But since cannabis is federally illegal, the same rules don’t apply.

It can be challenging enough to find a prescribing doctor, because HMOs and other traditional medical organizations forbid them from prescribing a federally illegal substance. But even after you go through the process of tracking one down and getting a prescription, you still can’t get that prescription filled in most other medical marijuana states because only seven of them have reciprocity.

To date, the states that allow medical marijuana card holders from other states to fill prescriptions are: Arizona, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

 

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.

Notes From Oregon’s First Day Of Legal Cannabis Sales

By Sue Vorenberg

OREGON:  There was a prevalent party vibe in Portland, Oregon on Oct. 1, 2015 – the first day of legal recreational cannabis sales in the state.

Having covered the launch and evolution of Washington’s recreational cannabis system over the past several years, I was extremely curious to see how Oregon’s first day of sales played out. (I’m in Vancouver, Washington and Portland is literally a 15 minute drive from my house – so I know the city reasonably well).

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First, some kudos – Instead of grudgingly accepting the market (as we’ve seen in some Washington cities and I’m sure in some of Oregon’s more rural towns as well), Portland and its residents seem to openly and lovingly welcome it.

I’m sure there are residents who strongly oppose rec sales – but biking through the city for the launch of the Portland Pot Pedal Bike Tour I found a lot of enthusiasm, curiosity and support from the people I met (we went to a few eateries along with the head shops and dispensaries where you’d expect that sort of response).

During our ride – and our guides were wearing shirts with pot leaves on them – people on the street waved, asked about the tour and cheered us on. And I think with that sort of public attitude Portland is well set to become one of the best marijuana tourism destinations.

The pot shops (which are medical dispensaries that are now allowed to sell up to a quarter ounce of flower as Oregonians wait for their full recreational system to be set up in 2016) don’t work quite the same in Oregon as they do in Washington.

Medical Product Sales On The Rise At Recreational Cannabis Shops

By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record

WASHINGTON: Recreational cannabis shops in Southwest Washington are seeing an increasing demand for products with medical properties, such as high CBD edibles and cannabis-infused topicals for pain.

Store managers and owners at the Cannabis Country Store in Battle Ground and The Herbery in Vancouver, Washington, report so much demand for CBD-based products that at times they say it’s hard to keep up.

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“CBDs are on the rise – we really can’t carry enough of it,” said Jim Mullen, chief operating officer at The Herbery, which has two stores in Vancouver. “We have so many people coming in looking for it.”

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis used in medical marijuana markets for pain relief, as an anti-inflammatory and for reducing seizures. Requests for high CBD products – or products with a balance of CBD and THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis – at recreational stores often come from customers looking for relief of nausea, pain and a variety of other issues.

Initially there weren’t many high-CBD products in Washington’s recreational market because owners and growers anticipated the greatest demand would be for high-THC cannabis. But as more Baby Boomers and older Americans return to marijuana in legal markets, the demand is changing.

New Washington Sales Record Set In Late August

By Sue Vorenberg,
Cannabis Daily Record

Washington state recreational cannabis stores consistently report Fridays as their top sales days, with yet another record-breaking day in late August, according to information released by the Washington state Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Stores in the state reported $3.4 million ($3,387,268.82) in sales on Friday, August 28. (The shelf-price, which includes excise tax, was $4.2 million for the day – or $4,228,882 exactly), handily beating the prior record by close to $200,000.

The date is the second time that daily sales crested the $3 million mark since sales started in July 2014.

The prior record was set on Friday, July 31 with more than $3 million in daily sales ($3,098,139), with a shelf-price of close to $4 million ($3,926,273).

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Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are generally the best sales days of the week overall, while Sundays and early weekdays are often the slowest.

And in general, daily sales continue to build each month.

The new record was set on a day when two major cannabis conferences were held in the Pacific Northwest, although whether that was a factor is hard to determine.

The events were the Northwest Cannabis Classic in Tacoma, Washington, and the CannaGrow Expo in Portland, Oregon.

Oregon residents can’t yet buy legal recreational cannabis, so Portland conference-goers may have traveled across state lines to Vancouver, Washington, to make purchases that day and through the weekend.

Oregon will begin its early-start sales of cannabis flower from medical dispensaries on Oct. 1, which will likely have a large impact on sales in Southwest Washington, where two of the state’s three largest stores – Main Street Marijuana and New Vansterdam – are located.