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Retail Services leases shelf space for marijuana growers

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Spokane's cannabis scene has its first co-op — almost. The city's newest recreational dispensary, the Green Nugget, in conjunction with the Spokane-based company Retail Services, now offers open retail shelf space at its East Francis location for producer-processors.

R.J. Portmann, Retail Services' director of sales and development, says the business model was developed to allow producer-processors to set their own retail fees, clear the "cannabis logjam" due to overproduction and lack of dispensaries, and give consumers more options.

"We're trying to create transparency between producers and consumers," Portmann says of the year-old company. "There's a very serious bottleneck at the retail level. Not all producers can get their product to the shelves. Consumers may be missing out on some of the best product available because of this."

The program launched in conjunction with the Feb. 21 opening of the Green Nugget. Initially, 15 producer-processors paid for shelf space; today the dispensary boasts strains, concentrates and edibles from nearly 40 producers. Shelf space is provided to producers on a monthly lease. Leasing fees range from $1,000 to $5,000 per month and are based upon how much shelf and wall space is required. Fees also include marketing efforts on behalf of Retail Services.

"The concept has been extremely well received," Portmann says. "I believe it will set a new standard on how retail cannabis will be bought and sold."

Shelf space is only available through the Green Nugget; however, Retail Services is currently signing contacts with a second recreational retailer and has plans to expand statewide. If successful, the venture will drive down marijuana costs, Portmann says.

"Retailers have driven up marijuana prices and it's the producers and consumers who are suffering," he says. "With our program, producers will get more money per gram, and consumers will get it at a cheaper price. ... It's not a new concept; we're not reinventing the wheel." ♦

The Green Nugget • 1919 E. Francis, Suite A • Open Mon-Fri, 10 am-7 pm; Sat, noon-7 pm; Sun, noon-5 pm • • 484-0061

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