Cannabis Chronicles BlogFeaturedThe Columbian / Associated Press

Main Street Marijuana leads state in sales during record-breaking month

Ramsey Hamide, owner of the Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver shown Friday December 26, 2014, about half a year after the store opened.
Ramsey Hamide, owner of the Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver shown Friday December 26, 2014, about half a year after the store opened.

June turned out to be another record-breaking month for Washington’s recreational pot industry, and Main Street Marijuana reigned supreme, making more than $1.76 million worth of sales.

The small store in Vancouver’s Uptown Village surpassed its big previous sales record of $1.752 million for May. It was also the fourth consecutive month that Main Street led Washington’s 160+ pot shops in sales activity.

Among the other top sellers for June were some of the usual suspects. Seattle-based Uncle Ike’s was second on the list with $1.49 million, and Vancouver’s New Vansterdam ranked third with roughly $1.26 million.

New Vansterdam remains Washington’s top-grossing pot shop for the year with more than $10.4 million in revenue. But Main Street is fast closing in on that spot with about $9.5 million in sales through June.

Together, Washington’s two leading pot shops have made Vancouver a marijuana mecca for tourists. Local stores continue to serve customers from dozens of other states and countries every day.

Statewide, the industry sold more than $45.9 million worth of marijuana products last month, according to the latest numbers released Wednesday by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. In all, stores took in upwards of $4.4 million more than they did in May, the previous record sales month.

The state’s latest data dump – on the one-year anniversary of Washington’s first pot shop opening in Bellingham – shows the industry has made more than $259.7 million in sales so far. That also amounts to nearly $65 million in excise tax revenue for the state.

Average daily sales figures for the industry have climbed the charts month after month through June, peaking just shy of $1.5 million that month. So far, the daily average has taken a dip in July, but that could quickly change in the coming weeks.

The market also enjoyed a handful of its best single sales days in June, eclipsing the $2 million mark for the first time on June 19. In the following week, Washington’s pot shops went on to pass that bar again twice. The new single-day sales record is $2.52 million set on June 26.

Looking at the continuous growth of the industry and his store in particular, owner Ramsey Hamide predicts Main Street may do as much as $2.5 million worth of sales this month now that possession is legal in Oregon. The store benefitted from a boost in foot traffic leading up to the July 1 legalization date, and business didn’t slow down through the weekend.

“We had $250,000 in sales on that Thursday and Friday, just at our store,” Hamide said in a press release. “Friday was a record of $142,000, almost 50 percent more than our prior record of $92,000 set in June.”

Main Street, which celebrates its one-year anniversary on Thursday, also did about $90,000 worth of sales on Saturday, said Sue Vorenberg, the store’s media director.

Sales aren’t expected to begin in Oregon until October. Lawmakers are paving the way for the state’s medical dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana until licensed retailers open in late 2016. And even when that happens, Hamide anticipates it’ll take quite a while for the supply chain to stabilize for Oregon stores.

“I think newly legalizing states are going to go through some bumpy starts, just like we did here in Washington,” he said. “The learning curve took us a while – such as getting the distribution network set up. After a year of operations, I think things are finally settling down in Washington, and I think we’ll see that happen in Oregon, Alaska and other newly-legalized states as the push toward national legalization continues.”

With a less burdensome tax structure now in place for Washington’s recreational pot industry, Hamide expects prices to drop some 25 to 50 percent at his store by mid-fall. As the supply has picked up in recent months, prices have already dropped significantly since the store opened last summer.

Today, Main Street carries more than 250 different marijuana products, and all its flowers are selling for $20 or less per gram. But in the next few months, Hamide envisions prices dropping as low as $5 per gram and $99 for an entire ounce of marijuana.

– Justin Runquist