By Steve Guntli
Bud is a booming business in Whatcom County.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board recently began releasing sales data online for the state’s legal marijuana businesses. The Liquor Control Board hopes that making the data available will help financial institutions track and regulate the sale of marijuana.
According to the data, Whatcom County’s five retail pot shops have brought in a total of $1.5 million since the first shops opened in Bellingham in July. Of those, Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham has posted the highest returns, with about $688,000 in sales. 2020 Solutions followed closely with more than $625,000.
Two other Bellingham pot shops, Cascade Herb Company and Green Leaf, have posted sales of $38,000 and $177,500 respectively since they opened for business in August. Green Stop, a retail store in Maple Falls and so far the only pot shop in Whatcom County at-large, has earned more than $23,000 since opening last month.
So far, two of the stores with the highest individual sales in the state are in the southwestern town of Vancouver, Washington. New Vansterdam and Main Street Marijuana have earned $1.7 million and $1.1 million, respectively. Those stores likely benefit from a close proximity to Oregon, where recreational marijuana is still illegal. That state is set to vote on the issue this fall. Cannabis City in Seattle earned more than $1.3 million, despite being beset with supply problems.
In addition to sales, the Liquor Control Board has also begun posting any fines or warnings incurred by shops that were in violation of state regulations. The data only relates the past month of activity, but so far no Whatcom County stores have been fined. The largest fine handed out has been a $5,000 penalty to Green Chiefs, a licensed grower in Granite Falls that failed to maintain a system to track its product. Thirty-six businesses around the state were given warnings for failing to file sales reports with the liquor control board.
For more information, visit the Washington State Liquor Control Board at liq.wa.gov.