The Columbian / Associated Press

Sales blaze on marijuana holiday in Clark County

Jim Mullin, owner of a trio of marijuana dispensaries in Clark County, said his staff and customers compare April 20 to Christmas.

“Everybody comes in. Some of the people maybe just consume (marijuana) once a year, and this is the day they come out,” he said. “It’s a globally recognized day for cannabis consumption. I think it celebrates our new industry.”

Every year, April 20 is a marijuana blowout, but its origins differ based on whom you ask. Apocryphal histories range from “420” being a police code for marijuana smoking in public or the time school closed for a group of high school stoners.

Today, it’s closer to Black Friday for the legal marijuana industry. Prices of marijuana flower, edibles and extracts are slashed. Before opening Thursday morning, lines stretched around all three locations of Main Street Marijuana.

Owner Ramsey Hamide said Thursday the shop, already the top-selling store in the state, expected to triple or quadruple its business. He said most users take advantage of the deals and many occasional smokers come shop as well.

“Today has really morphed into the day that people that are involved in marijuana and marijuana culture are able to openly celebrate to some extent,” he said.

The deals factored in for many. Dana Matthis, 45, of Vancouver waited in line during the lunch hours to “see what kind of deals they have.” Stephen Sharp, a 24-year-old from Portland, said he and others were shopping at Main Street Marijuana to take advantage of the low prices.

“After bills and everything, we’re poor, so, cheap weed,” he said.

Adding to the high sales are the continuous drops in prices of marijuana. A gram of flower used to cost $20 to $30 in Washington. Now the average gram costs $7.85, according to the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Control Board.

Even so, revenues from marijuana sales in Clark County went gangbusters last month. Sales had declined in fall and winter, but March garnered $1.86 million, the highest month in the county since September 2015.

“We saw a lot of them boomerang back to us,” Hamide said. “They checked out the Oregon stores, then realized it was a different experience than what they were used to. I think we’re distinguishing ourselves from the Oregon system. We’re winning that battle.”