VANCOUVER -- The legal pot industry in Washington State is just two weeks old and already its run into a major problem. One of the two pot retailers in Vancouver closed his doors temporarily to protest what he calls price gouging by growers and suppliers.
Ramsey Hamide, the manager of Main Street Marijuana, is not one to shy away from a battle. Now he s launched an effort to push back against prices he pays to buy pot for his store.
I m a high volume, low margin guy and I care about the consumers, he said. I just can t in good conscious charge $25 or $30 a gram for us to barely make enough money to pay our employees and to have the growers hitting home runs at our expense and our customers expense, said Hamide.
His shelves are empty. He has no supply. Hamide said he recently refused to pay for a shipment of low-quality pot.
The processor wanted $6,000 a pound. Across town, Vancouver s other pot retailer, New Vansterdam, is closed too, also because of lack of supply.
Outside Main Street Marijuana, customers like Birdie Zoltan, visiting from Pennsylvania, were understanding.
Well, everyone wants a nice big cut. That s what it s about, I guess, said Zoltan.
Pot supplies are tight now but retailers say large harvests should drive prices down in August and again in September.
Hamide from Main Street Marijuana says tables will turn then and growers should ease up now.
These processors, these farmers are gonna have to realize that they need to be a little more consumer friendly and be thinking long term, what s best for the consumer, is best for the industry, is best for them. and essentially, price gouging us because you can right now is not the correct play, he said.