Washougal pot shop watches and learns under ban

Brandon Brock, owner of Mary Jane’s House of Glass at 212 N.E. 164th Avenue, won the Liquor Control Board lottery to license the first pot store in Washougal back in June.

But bans and moratoriums, including the latest two year ban by Washougal, have left him sitting on the sidelines watching the action unfold at other stores around the state, including the two Vancouver stores that are open.

Brandon Brock, owner of Mary Jane's House of Glass at 212 N.E. 164th Avenue, poses for a portrait, Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Brock won the lottery to license a pot store in Washougal. He says the moratorium and the availability of product are the two main challenges to starting up his business. (Steven Lane/The Columbian)
(Brandon Brock, owner of Mary Jane’s House of Glass at 212 N.E. 164th Avenue, won the lottery to license a pot store in Washougal. -Steven Lane/The Columbian)

Still, the lessons from other businesses are helpful in thinking about the shop he eventually plans to open, he said.

“I’m learning there’s a lot of greed right now in the early stages,” Brock said. “The growers are certainly getting top dollar and those costs are getting passed on to the consumer.”

He thinks those prices will drop by the time he’s able to open his shop.

The proposed store, Mary Jane’s House of Grass, would add 10 full-time and a handful of part-time jobs to the Washougal economy, Brock said.

If possible, he’d also like to buy his stock from Clark County growers, he said.

“I would have to keep pricing in mind, but if the local guys were about the same price I’d probably go with them,” Brock said.

In the meantime, the regional chain of nine Mary Jane’s House of Glass stores have been doing very well since the first two pot stores opened in Vancouver in early July, he said.

“Definitely we’ve seen an uptick in business,” Brock said. “It’s been real steady since they opened. I didn’t realize how many people didn’t have access to cannabis before this and couldn’t get it on the black market.”

He said a lot of Baby Boomer aged customers have been using the product for medical issues or returning to it for recreational use. And, while the two Vancouver stores, like Mary Jane’s, also sell marijuana paraphernalia, he doesn’t think that’s a bad thing for his chain.

(Pipes at Mary Jane's House of Glass. -Steven Lane/The Columbian)
(Pipes at Mary Jane’s House of Glass. -Steven Lane/The Columbian)

“Them selling glass? I love it,” Brock said. “They’re selling items that get people started. And then when they want more we can introduce them to a much larger range of items at our stores.”

Mary Jane’s has hired 10 new employees in the last month, in part due to the increased demand. About half of those jobs are at Vancouver’s two Mary Jane’s locations at 212 N.E. 164th Ave. #19 and 8312 E. Mill Plain Blvd, Brock said.

“It’s definitely been helping us,” Brock said. “A lot of people are buying our detox kits, too. A lot of people who haven’t used marijuana in years, they’ll use those to detoxify. We’ve seen a huge uptick in that.”

The chain is also planning to open its 10th store, this one in Tualatin, Ore., on Sept. 1.