Seattle’s first and only marijuana retail store shut its doors last Friday after shelves were cleared of stock just three days after Washington became the second U.S. state to legalize recreational pot sales.
The store named “Cannabis City” opened in Seattle on Tuesday, with more than 10 pounds of marijuana; within 48 hours of business, every last bud had been sold. According to owners, the store will be re-stocked and open again on July 21.
There was extensive concern that sellers would be hamstrung by pot shortages this week after Washington okayed the initial 25 licenses to retailers under a strictly regulated and heavily taxed system approved by voters back in November 2012.
Some stores planned to ration the amount of product early customers could buy to try to make the marijuana stocks last.
The manager of Cannabis City, Amber McGowan, told Reuters on Thursday that the store would probably not have sufficient inventory to keep its doors open for its full schedule of regular business hours until receiving the next delivery in the coming week. Moreover, she explained that the store had only been able to stay open as long as it had by limiting customers to 0.2 ounces each – far short of the 1.0 ounce legal limit.
The initiation of recreational sales in Colorado and next Washington marks a broader trend of liberalization of attitudes about pot in the U.S. Yet progress in Washington has been slower than expected, with lawmakers and administrators still reviewing 300 + license applications, and sanctioned pot growers producing very limited supplies so far.
Analysts predict that the shortages will be short-lived, since they were initially caused, to a large part, by the last-minute notice retailers were given to plan for openings, as well as an outpouring of pent-up demand.
Last week, it was estimated that Colorado’s marijuana demand for the year has run up to 130 tons.
“A year from now, product is likely going to be far more available,” said Sean Green, chief executive officer of Kouchlock Productions, a marijuana producer in Washington.
Disappointed consumers in Seattle made light of the shortages, with one Twitter user recommending that retailers implement a green “Pot Light” system for their windows to show they had stock – similar to the Hot Light employed by a well-known donut brand.