The marijuana industry in Washington state has taken off since it was legalized by popular vote in 2012 and many local businesses have been raking in the green.
Since the first shops opened up in 2014, nearly $3 billion in pot sales has netted $742 million in excise tax revenue and $262 million in sales tax from 546 retailers across Washington.
The state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board tracks revenue from marijuana businesses, which is available on its website. There are three separate tiers within the marijuana industry: producers, processors and retailers. A 37 percent excise tax is levied on retailers at the point of sale as well as sales tax. State revenue goes to fund a variety of services including Medicaid. Financial statistics are available up until the end October 2017 so the Reporter checked in to see how Eastside retailers fared over the previous year.
Bellevue has four pot stores with the largest being The Novel Tree, which grossed $4.9 million. Higher Leaf brought in $1.8 million, followed by Green Theory Factoria at $1.7 million and another Green Theory in the Spring District brought down $747,000 at its current location. It was previously located on Main Street during which it grossed $3.7 million for a combined total of $4.45 million
By and away the most financially successful shop in Kirkland was Higher Leaf. The store is the oldest in Kirkland and opened in 2015. Between October 2016 and the following year, Higher Leaf brought in $8.5 million in gross revenue.
This was followed by the retailer Mary Jane, which also opened in 2015, at $3.5 million in revenue. Starbuds, which opened in 2016, brought in $1.6 million during the same time. Starbuds was formerly called Kush.
Marijuana stores in Kirkland have garnered some push back over the years as some residents struggle to come to terms with the industry’s legalization. Neighbors expressed some concern in 2016 about the placement of Kush next to Kirkland’s Costco but it lies within a commercial zone, one of two where the city allowed pot shops to set up shop.
The Liquor and Cannabis Board allocated Kirkland four retail marijuana permits, all of which have been issued. A license for a retail shop at 11834 NE 90th St. was awarded by the state and approved by the city but no business has opened at that location yet.
Marijuana has fared similarly well in many cities across the Eastside. The single highest-grossing store is Issaquah Cannabis Company. Located in its namesake jurisdiction, it is the only marijuana store in the city and the only outlet marijuana connoisseurs in east King County can purchase legal pot. Between October 2016 and the following year the store grossed $8.9 million in revenue.
Bothell’s four stores have done similarly well, with Herbal Nation pulling down $6.5 million, followed by Have A Heart at $2.2 million, Local Roots Marijuana at $1.8 million and Euphorium at $283,489.
Neighboring city Kenmore has only one pot shop, Theorem, which brought in $1.9 million in sales.
Redmond has two marijuana shops, both of which opened in 2017 after the city allowed stores to open following a unanimous approval vote in 2016. Always Greener opened in February 2017 and earned $1 million through last October. Hashtag Cannabis opened in March 2017 and brought in $562,000.
Snoqualmie banned pot stores from opening in 2016 and, while not banned, none have sprung up in North Bend. All marijuana businesses are barred from operating in the city of Sammamish by city ordinance.