Vancouver issued two marijuana store licenses

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

Published:

Updated: July 7, 2014, 8:02 PM

 

Expect a festive atmosphere in Uptown Village when Vancouver’s first marijuana shop opens Wednesday.

The Weed and Weenies street fair and music by jazz band Celestial Soundwave will accompany Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt as he cuts the ribbon at 11 a.m. at Main Street Marijuana, 2314 Main St. Main Street Marijuana got its license from the Washington State Liquor Control Board at 2:30 a.m. Monday and its license from the city at noon Monday.

The pot retail store has secured 7.5 pounds of marijuana and several hundred prerolled joints for opening day, said Ramsey Hamide, a manager.

“We’re good to go,” Hamide said. “We’ve cleared the hurdles and are just finishing setting everything up at this point.”

The first shipment, expected this afternoon, is two strains, Sour Kush and J’s Famous Kush from Farmer J’s, a grower near Spokane.

The store expects to sell 672 2-gram packages and 399 4-gram packages of marijuana buds and 90 packages of five prerolled 1-gram joints.

“We think we have enough to stay open for the whole first week,” Hamide said.

Due to the potentially overwhelming demand, customers will be limited to either 4 grams of buds or one pack of joints for now, although Hamide said he expects supply to improve in the next six to eight weeks.

After tax, the 2-gram packages will sell for $50, the 4-gram packages will sell for $100 and the 5-gram packages of prerolled joints will sell for $60, he said. The joints are cheaper, because they are rolled from trimmings and leaves rather than buds, Hamide said.

“We think the prices will get chopped in half within two months as the outdoor grows start to harvest,” he said.

The company also will sell pipes, lighters and other smoking-related items on opening day. Edibles, e-cigarette cartridges and other products will take a bit longer to get to market, he said.

“I think we’ll see edibles and concentrates probably by the end of August,” Hamide said. “Ideally, we want to have as many strains and products as possible.”

The Weed and Weenies street fair, hosted by marijuana industry software company Viridian Sciences, will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 2114 Main St. The fair will have food vendors and booths from marijuana paraphernalia shop Mary Jane’s House of Glass, testing lab The Werc Shop and Leafly, a marijuana information app company, among others.

Local stores that display the fair fliers in their window will offer discounts on additional products or food, said Justin Dufour, president and CEO of Viridian.

But marijuana smoking is prohibited at the event.

“The street fair is about safe, responsible consumption,” Dufour said. “We’ll have information about laws, and we want people to have fun. But we also want people to be respectful and aware of the businesses and community here in Uptown.”

Dufour also will be Main Street Marijuana’s first ceremonial customer.

“They asked me to, and I said, ‘Sure, of course I will,’ ” Dufour said. “For me, it’s like walking on the moon.”

Vancouver’s other marijuana store, which also got its license Monday, plans to open later in the week. New Vansterdam, 6515 E. Mill Plain Blvd., plans to be open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, said Brian Budz, an owner.

“We’re moving forward,” Budz said after getting news of the license approval.

A total of 334 licensees have applied to the state for retail stores, but many are not ready to open. The Liquor Control Board will allow six stores in Vancouver, including the two that have been licensed. The other four are still setting up shop. Locations receiving the first licenses were selected based on population, geographic dispersion and readiness to be licensed, the board said.

Even though marijuana purchases are now legal from state-licensed stores, there are still rules that customers will have to obey.

Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said the department will issue citations for violations of marijuana laws and traffic laws — including on opening day Wednesday.

“We’re not going to allow anything in your car, a park, the sidewalk,” Kapp said.

That said, the VPD isn’t planning on extra staffing for the day, but it is ready for crowds, she said.

“We’re certainly aware of it,” she said. “The neighborhood response teams will be available that day if we need them.”

The VPD is expecting a lot of people, but hopefully not many problems, she said.

“If there are traffic issues, we’re prepared to get things cleaned up,” Kapp said. “In that part of town, parking is an issue. People will just have to find a legal spot and walk.”

Civil infraction violations for state marijuana laws are $103, she said. Officers also have talked with owners of both stores, she said.

“They’ve been very welcoming of us,” Kapp said. “We’re all trying to work together.”