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Legal marijuana sales see huge March bump in Spokane County

Spokane County legal marijuana sales continued their climb in March, as two new stores reported revenue and overall sales rose 30 percent over February totals. 

Fourteen shops reported $2.6 million in sales during the month of March, up from just a little over $2 million in February, according to figures reported by the Washington State Liquor Control Board on Tuesday. Greenlight, a shop that opened in September on Trent Avenue, once again led all area stores in sales, reporting revenues of $431,071 in March.

Two shops, Royal's Cannabis on Division Street and Smokane in East Central Spokane, opened in March and began reporting sales.

Here is a graph showing each shop's sales from July of last year, when the state first authorized legal sales, through last month's revenue figures:

Source: Washington State Liquor Control Board

This month saw the first reported armed robbery of a Spokane area marijuana store, as detectives obtained surveillance video of a masked man demanding cash at knifepoint at Spokane Green Leaf, the first retail store in Spokane to open its doors. In Olympia, lawmakers are debating how to distribute excise taxes collected from recreational marijuana sales. To date, retailers have collected more than $16.8 million in taxes statewide, according to the Liquor Control Board. That money is pooled at the state level for earmarked purposes, though local lawmakers have said they'd like to see portions of the money collected in taxes remaining in the counties where the sales took place.

Marr, Foster leaving Liquor Board

OLYMPIA – Two of the three members of the state board that oversees Washington’s liquor and marijuana laws will step down early next year.

Chairwoman Sharon Foster has informed Gov. Jay Inslee that she will not accept a reappointment to the Liquor Control Board when her term expires in January, and former state Sen. Chris Marr said he is leaving that month to take a position as a lobbyist. . .


State estimates legal pot will sell for $12/gram

The state Liquor Control Board, responsible for regulating and taxing marijuana in Washington state, estimates the price of legal pot will average $12 per gram.

That's among the interesting tidbits in this Liquor Control Board fact sheet, which the agency has posted to a new web page designed to help Washington residents keep track of progress to develop regulations for growing and selling marijuana.

In addition to licensing fees, there's a 25 percent excise tax at the wholesale level and another 25 percent excise tax at the retail level. Estimates vary on the amount of tax revenue expected to be generated.

Coalition files suit to force Liquor Control Board to change retail liquor rules

Additional material added, 1:50 p.m. June 22

You can find a copy of the petition at the bottom of this post. 

The aftermath of Initiative 1183 continues.  A West side group, the  1183 Coalition, announced on Friday it filed a Thurston County suit contesting how the state implemented the rules covering sales from retail locations.

I-1183, passed by voters last fall, allows private sales of liquor across Washington state.

The coalition includes the Washington Restaurant Association (WRA), the Northwest Grocery Association (NWGA) and Costco Wholesale Corp.

The suit is particularly focused on Liquor Control Board rulings that deter retail-to-retail sales. The main concerns are:

  • 24-liter per day restriction on sales of wine and spirits from retailers to restaurants
  • Restrictions on delivery locations for spirits distributors
  • Imposition of unauthorized fee on certain spirits manufacturers
  • Discrimination against foreign spirit producers ability to market product to retailers

Attorneys for the coalition say the board's approach "arbitrarily restricts the wholesale distribution and pricing of wine and spirits. This approach erodes small businesses' ability to compete in the marketplace; it protects distributors from competition and increases prices for consumers."



2 bars cited for over-serving in triple fatal

Two downtown bars were cited by the state Liquor Control Board for over-serving a man who, while drunken driving, allegedly caused a fatal accident on Interstate 90 in December.

The driver, Sterling N. Kruger, 22, of Davenport, Wash., died after entering the eastbound highway going the wrong way, and collided with an eastbound vehicle killing both the driver James Roscoe Bolton, 61, of Spokane Valley; and his passenger, Trina Louise Erickson, 47, of Spokane Valley.

After an investigation, the liquor board discovered that Kruger had visited three downtown nightclubs that night, two of which were cited for allowing an intoxicated person to consume/possess alcohol.

The Lion’s Lair, 205 W. Riverside Ave., faces a five-day liquor license suspension or a $500 fine, while the BLVD House of Music faces a 30-day license suspicion. This is the third violation for the BLVD within two years, officials said.