A week into Washington's experiment with recreational marijuana, two Vancouver retailers say business has been so brisk that they've experienced intermittent closures.
Demand for recreational marijuana has far outpaced supply, said New Vansterdam owner Brian Budz, whose shop is closed until Friday. The business opened Friday and had enough inventory to get through the weekend, but closed Sunday with only a couple grams on the shelves.
"We anticipated being in good shape for seven to 10 days," he said." It didn't last us three days. It was unbelievable how many people came through our store Friday, Saturday and Sunday."
Main Street Marijuana, also in Vancouver, opened last Wednesday but ran out of marijuana by the end of business Friday. More pot arrived late Monday so the shop opened Tuesday, said Ramsey Hamide, a shop manager. The shop's prices, which last week shot up to $30 a gram, now range from $15 to $20 a gram.
"We had a line of 150 people plus," he said of Tuesday's opening. "When I left 15 minutes ago, there were at least 100 people still in line. The demand is huge."
Main Street Marijuana and New Vansterdam were the among the first batch of marijuana retailers licensed by the state last week. Anyone 21 and older may possess as much as an ounce of marijuana under a law approved by Washington voters in 2012.
The launch of Washington’s recreational marijuana program has been dogged by low supply and high prices. Industry insiders think supply will improve as more licensed growers come on line. And, they say, more supply will lead to a drop in prices.