By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record
Marijuana sales in Washington continued to grow in October, despite fears that the launch of Oregon’s recreational market would end the trend.
Washington pot stores sold $61.3 million worth of product in October, a smaller than usual gain over September sales of $59.6 million, but a gain nonetheless.
Southwest Washington stores have been heavily dependent on customers traveling North from Oregon, especially Portland, which until Oct. 1 had no legal way for recreational customers to buy cannabis. That allowed two of Washington’s largest three stores (Main Street Marijuana and New Vansterdam) to thrive across the border from Portland in Vancouver, Washington. (Washington’s third store that’s continually in the top three is Uncle Ike’s in Seattle).
Through Oregon’s Early Start program, which lets medical dispensaries sell marijuana flower, Oregon has seen robust sales – with several sources noting about $11 million worth of product sold in the first week.
In contrast, sales have dipped in Vancouver, but not enough to counter the month by month growth that has continued across the entire state of Washington since recreational cannabis was legalized in July, 2014.
Vancouver stores have reported 15 to 20 percent drops in traffic through their doors, with some reporting sales that have declined by 40 percent or more.
Main Street Marijuana reported $1.3 million in sales for October, a decline from $2.1 million in September. In October, New Vansterdam sold $612,878, compared with $1.3 million in September. (Sales data for this story can be found here: LCB Frequently Requested Lists page).
Other stores in Vancouver also saw declines. The Herbery’s main store sales dropped from $545,616 in September to $431,919 in October. High End Marketplace dropped from $489,706 in September to $249,866 in October. Green Head Cannabis dropped from $87,953 in September to $60,220 in October.
The Cannabis Country Store in Battle Ground, which is also relatively close to Portland, saw a smaller decrease in sales than Vancouver stores, with $198,993 in September and $172,099 in October.
Still, the Southwest Washington sales declines may be a bit misleading, as several stores have also dropped their prices significantly so they can compete with Oregon.
“It’s a mix for us,” said Jim Mullen, COO of The Herbery. “We have seen a decline in traffic, but we also slashed our prices quite a bit and that’s affecting our sales numbers as well. That said, we’re in this for the long haul, and we’re not going away.”
The price drop phenomenon is likely to get more complex as the fall outdoor harvest floods into stores creating a glut of low priced product in both states.