Hundreds of people lined up around the block on Main Street Vancouver Wednesday for the opening of the city’s first recreational marijuana shop.
Mayor Tim Leavitt cut a ceremonial ribbon to celebrate what he called a new chapter.
“Obviously a lot of energy here in downtown Vancouver, a lot of folks here to support or otherwise,” Leavitt said. “I want to encourage all of you to enjoy the use of marijuana within the legal confines of our state law.”
Inside the store, little baggies containing measured amounts of buds and ready rolled joints sat under glass.
On Wednesday there were only two brands, J’s Famous Kush and Sour Kush, and they sold from $20 to $30 a gram.
“It’s kind of spendy but the price will go down,” said Vancouver resident Shane Kelly, among Main Street Marijuana’s first customers. He said he spent hours in line because he wanted to see history in the making.
The store had bongs and pipes. There was also marketing information, which described Sour Kush as best for those looking for “an uplifting experience without overwhelming sedative effects.”
The information also contained a warning about the intoxicating effects of marijuana and how it may be habit forming.
Customer Anthony Ameron was not impressed when he compared Main Street Marijuana to the store he visited in Denver, which began sales of recreational pot earlier this year.
“There’s only two strains here,” Ameron said. “Denver, most of the clubs run about 20 different kinds. And the pricing here is a lot higher.”
Asked if he expected that to change, Ameron said, “Yeah, competition will change that. Like everything. Free market.”
Store owner Christopher Stipe said he’s heard similar concerns from customers like Ameron.
“Right now our supply is limited,” Stipe said. “We wanted to get the doors open. We wanted to be the first. And as the months roll through we’re going to have a huge plethora of supply and you can pick out anything you want.”
Outside the store on Wednesday, marketers were at work.
The director of operations for the marijuana information website Leafly, John Carroll, was handing out free T-shirts displaying popular pot strains:
“We have these strain shirts,” Carroll said. “This one’s Bubba Kush. And these are all on our site, you can actually go and research. We have 800 strains on our site and they’re crowdsources so you can find the strain that is best for being happy or giggly or sad or whatever.”
Main Street Marijuana is Vancouver’s first recreational pot store. But the state has issued five other retail permits for the city.