VANCOUVER - Marijuana entrepreneurs are preparing to start opening their shops in Washington, with one of the first in the state opening in Vancouver Wednesday morning.
Sunday night the managers of Main Street Marijuana, at West 24th Street and Main Street, were rushing to get the store ready for its debut.
They said they expect up to 500 people to be lined up outside when the store opens.
"We really feel like we’re here as pioneers of sorts," said general manager Ramsey Hamide. "Getting ready to launch a business after so many years of prohibition."
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Hamide is a former ticket broker who, along with his brother and a friend, saw a golden opportunity when they heard about the state’s lottery for pot retail licenses. They went for one, and they got it.
"There was a lot of jumping up and down when we found out we won the lottery. A lot of screaming and high fives for sure," he said. "Definitely the golden ticket.”
Now just days away from opening their doors, they recently found out supply will be limited, because Washington’s growers are behind on product.
Hamide expects his pot will sell for $25 a gram, or roughly $700 per ounce, which is about twice the rate at medical dispensaries.
He said his prices will likely come down after a few weeks, as more supply becomes available.
And then there is the delicate issue of cash: It’s the only currency they’ll accept.
"It does make us nervous," Hamide said. "But we feel we have a system in place to deal with the cash and the security systems required by the Washington State Liquor Control Board.”
The question most people south of the Washington border have on their minds: What about us?
"Well, we’re here because strategically we thought this would be a great place to draw traffic from Oregon," Hamide said, adding "anything purchased in the state of Washington has to be consumed in the state of Washington.”
A total of six retail sites are authorized for Vancouver, but only three are expected to be licensed this week.