In Spokane, many of the top-selling stores, not surprisingly, are ones that opened early in the first year of recreational-weed retail. The first year has seen more and more stores open throughout the area, and a quickly growing array of marijuana-related products filling their shelves. And according to the sales numbers from the Washington State Liquor Control Board, nearly every shop has seen its month-to-month sales grow from opening day onward.
Despite the rocky launch to legal weed in Washington, clearly the stores have good reason to be bullish on its future.
Spokane Green Leaf, a smallish shop in a nondescript strip mall, was the first to throw open its doors, on July 8 of last year. Fast forward to July 1, and it has sold more than $3 million worth of pot.
Todd Bennatt, one of Spokane Green Leaf's owners, says the store has changed its slogan from "Spokane's 1st" to "Spokane's 1st and Friendliest" to reflect the care it gives to its customers. The store's congenial employees will even take debit cards on purchases over $35, a rarity in an industry still largely run on cash.
When marijuana first became legal, prices were significantly higher than the black market, raising concerns about the viability of the whole enterprise. But Bennatt says this never worried Spokane Green Leaf.
"We've always taken the long-term vision for this business," says Bennatt, noting that more processors and producers have come online and lawmakers have changed pot's tax structure, all of which he says will make the price of legal pot competitive with the black market.
After owning pipe shop Piece of Mind for nearly two decades, Justin Wilson opened Satori in August last year, which has become another top-seller. Wilson says he chose the name of the shop, which refers to the Zen state of enlightenment, in part, to reflect how "our culture and our government have finally woken up to the fact that marijuana is not that bad and can be a lot of fun."
Wilson attributes part of the store's success to good customer service and carrying bud from Phat Panda, a company that produces high quality product at prices that helped make legal weed more competitive with the black market.
Sativa Sisters, located in Spokane Valley, opened up in August of last year and has likewise sold more than $3 million to date. Eric Skaar, the store's general manager, says that although Spokane Valley's city government has been wary about marijuana, it hasn't been a problem.
Skaar says that the biggest surprise has been the wide variety of people who visit the shop. He also says that he had some initial concerns about the high taxes and low supply, but is now optimistic about the future of legal weed in Washington, pointing to the wide range of products that are coming on the market.
"There are so many new ideas and creativity right now," he says. ♦
A look inside Spokane-area retail outlets
1515 S. Lewis, twitter.com/a420store, 844-7287
Possibly the most inconspicuous of Eastern Washington's retail marijuana outlets, it's tucked away just off the Sunset Highway in a building that could easily be mistaken for a nice woodshed or small hunting lodge. Inside, a counter full of pipes and concentrates and a wall of buds in packages showcasing myriad strains shows that people hunting to get high have found the right place.
Cannabis & Glass
6620 N. Market, facebook.com/CGSpokane, 309-6974
It's a little daunting, as Cannabis & Glass' location is somewhat remote, hidden behind a large tree, and the parking lot and building are inside barbed-wire fencing. Inside, a vibrant green-and-purple paint job marks the small window where customers line up among some bank-style crowd-control ropes before ordering their intoxicant of choice, whether it be a mix-and-match ounce, a concentrate or edible.
7011 N. Division, cindersmoke.com, 241-3091
The Cinder outlet on Division keeps it simple. A few shelves hold buds, a few others hold edibles, oils and concentrates. A digital board behind the counter informs visitors of the vast array of strains available any given day. The friendly employees are eager to help anyone confused by the assortment, and the location next to a donut shop makes for some handy one-stop shopping.
Cinder Spokane Valley
1421 N. Mullan, cindersmoke.com, 241-3726
Sparse is the rule here, and it's a clean, futuristic vibe. The walls are bare, save for video screens with rotating menus of all the products available at the store, located in a strip mall next to a Curves franchise. Four wooden tables are the only things in the room, and visitors passing them can check out the pipes and various other implements on their way to the counter where they order from the huge menu of products available, yet unseen.
10309 E. Trent, Spokane Valley, greenlightspokane.com, 309-3193
Green Light's rust-colored building sits beside a construction-supply store on Trent Avenue, and the industrial exterior belies the large space inside. Along one side is all manner of pipes, bongs and other tools, while cases throughout the rest of the space hold an array of strains, concentrates and edibles. On a Thursday midday, the place is hopping with customers, and the budtenders are quick with help and suggestions.
The Green Nugget
1919 E. Francis, facebook.com/thegreennugget, 309-2130
Blessed with a large parking lot across from a residential neighborhood, the Green Nugget feels like a big house — albeit one with unusually bright green trim. The carpeted store inside has a dorm vibe, abetted by the ski posters, green Christmas lights and Ziggy Marley concert flyers. Cases around the edges are filled with everything a stoner might need, from buds to edibles, small pipes to rolling papers and bongs.
Green Star Cannabis
1403 N. Division, Suite A, greenstarcan.com, 919-3398
The store located closest to downtown Spokane has another enviable aspect — a pizza shop and bar located in the same strip mall! Visitors are greeted by budtenders who help guide customers through a wide array of strains and edibles. Posters of Kurt Cobain and Notorious B.I.G. dot the walls alongside various pot-related photos, and the glass window where payment is accepted isn't as obtrusive now that the rest of the store is full of product.
MJ's Pot Shop
1335 SE Bishop Blvd., Pullman, mjspotshoppullman.com, 332-5203
Tucked into an auto garage, MJ's bustles with curious customers. Friendly employees guide visitors through questions regarding variety, potency and prices. Paintings of rolling Palouse landscapes hang above cases stocked with bud, tinctures, edibles and smoking devices. The shop serves as the only retail marijuana for the university town; expect a mix of business casual, college burnout and a touch of tie-dye. (Jacob Jones)
7115 N. Division, Suite A, Facebook: Royal's Cannabis, 808-2098
Open just a few months, the spacious, relatively sparse Royal's Cannabis sits in a newer strip mall on Division next to a tax-preparation business and just down the sidewalk from a Golden Corral restaurant. Marked with a simple crown sign outside, Royal's has gained a foothold in the market with daily specials like "Tincture Tuesday," and by focusing on carrying a large line of buds and edibles, along with pipes and bongs.
10525 E. Trent, Spokane Valley, sativasisters.com, 381-1502
The bright-green exterior, grassy lawn and large sign make Sativa Sisters' shop hard to miss. Inside, the building contains a nicely decorated shop with display cases full of product and the Amsterdam Coffee Café, a full-service coffee shop where you can relax over a latte, do a little reading or research your potential buy. You can't partake in any pot products in the coffee shop, but you'll find everything you need in the retail shop to go home and enjoy — along with that caffeine buzz.
9301 N. Division, satorimj.com, 703-7191
A mellow lobby greets visitors to Satori, offering couches and barstools for sitting, a few magazines for browsing and a Buddha statue for, I suppose, meditating on which product to buy after showing your ID. Spy the daily special on the chalkboard as you enter the next room, which is packed with all manner of buds, edibles and smoking instruments. The music is noticeable but unobtrusive, the art on the walls a mix of jokey "Reefer Madness" movie one-sheets as well as Bob Marley and Beatles posters.
4428 Williams Valley Rd., Clayton, Wash., facebook.com/savagethc, 999-2989
Sitting inside a chain-link fence topped with razor wire, Savage THC's exterior might be intimidating, but enter the door next to a huge American flag and the vibe lightens considerably. A case full of buds, edibles and concentrates is accompanied by weed-themed posters and some sports memorabilia, like an autographed Richard Sherman photo and SuperSonics banner. Regulars get a bonus — punch cards mean $10 off any $25 order after 12 visits.
17 N. Ralph, smokane502.com, 536-4000
This newer retail store isn't the easiest to find, tucked along the railroad tracks behind a used-car dealership on East Sprague. But once you go inside, you'll find a well-lit, friendly store filled with options. Wood floors and glass cases make the interior clean and inviting, and the collection of buds, oils, edibles and various pipes and other paraphernalia is as large and diverse as any of the more established shops.
Spokane Green Leaf
9107 N. Country Homes Blvd., spokanegreenleaf.com, 919-3467
This smallish shop, the first recreational pot store to open in the area, is in a nondescript strip mall next to a currently vacant space and across from a Crossfit gym and sauna shop. Inside, though, the walls burst with options, from edibles like tea and cookies to buds from a wide array of strains. Baskets of lighters sit by the cash register to help the forgetful stoner, and unlike most recreational shops, Spokane Green Leaf takes debit cards for purchases of $35 or more.
The Top Shelf
1305 S. Hayford Rd., Airway Heights, facebook.com/thetopshelf509, 474-1050
If you don't know that the Top Shelf shares a building with an Exxon station, you might whip right by this shop located on the corner of Highway 2 and Hayford Road — the last traffic light before you get to Northern Quest Resort & Casino. The entry is a little sterile, but inside you'll find cases full of products and friendly, knowledgeable budtenders to help you find your ideal edible, bud or concentrate.
The TreeHouse Club
14421 E. Trent, Spokane Valley, treehouseclub.buzz, 413-2169
The recreational outlet closest to the Idaho border is definitely worth a trip. The little house is brightly lit, painted in vibrant colors, and has some large plants and art prints on the walls that lend the place a welcoming, collegiate vibe. Glass cases full of pipes, bongs, and all manner of marijuana products are situated around the L-shaped main room, and the employees are quick to offer help in differentiating, say, shatter from hash for folks new to products beyond buds.♦
Sales numbers for outlets can be found at the Washington Liquor Control Board Marijuana Data Dashboard: lcb.wa.gov/marijuana/dashboard