Analysis looks at pot industry in state, county by the numbers

By Brooks Johnson, Columbian Business Reporter

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As Washington’s marijuana industry emerges from its infancy, the numbers are starting to talk.

In the first year of sales, June 2014 to June 2015, Clark County sold more recreational marijuana than 20 other counties combined, and was second in the state only to King County.

That’s according to an analysis by BDS Analytics, a Colorado company that has looked into state sales data to study trends in the industry.

Year-over-year gains are dramatic, though statewide pot sales have started to slow their rapid growth. It’s too early to tell if Washington is reaching a plateau in cannabis sales, though the state’s recent approval of more retail stores in the state suggests that the market has room to grow.

After an initial product shortage led to high prices, the average price for a gram of marijuana dropped in half to $10, all while sales were rising, according to BDS. Some of that rise is attributed to the increasing availability of ingestible and concentrated cannabis.

Clark County’s seven stores were a magnet to Oregon users before that state opened up recreational sales. When that happened in October, stores here took a hit, though sales have started to rebound.

Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board data shows the state has collected $145 million in excise taxes from marijuana to date, $15 million of that from Clark County.

The county has seen sales of $41 million, which equates to $97 per person in the county (or $18 per person in the Portland metro area).

Local marijuana retailers last year said the variety of products will continue to attract Oregon buyers as the recreational market continues to develop there. Proximity to the Portland metro market could continue to give Clark County prominence among state sales, even as the cross-river competition heats up.