Owners of local marijuana shops hope to cash in on the biggest retail sales day of the year, an event many of the stores are calling "Green Friday."
Though state law dictates when the area's nine retail shops may open their doors (8 a.m.) and how much they can charge for marijuana (stores can't sell pot for less than they paid to acquire it from producers/processors), area store owners say they plan to extend their hours and offer discounts on items including edibles and J.R.R. Tolkein-inspired paraphernalia.
"If you buy a full ounce, we'll give you a free 15-inch Gandalf pipe," said Cristy Aranguiz, lead "budtender" at Cannabis & Glass, a shop that opened earlier this month in north Spokane. The glassware resembles the long pipe smoked by the wizard in Tolkein's classic Lord of the Rings series.
Check out this map of stores, their business hours for Friday and a brief description of the deals they plan to offer customers, and read more about the shops' specific plans inside the blog.
This year will be the first the state's legal marijuana stores are open for post-Thanksgiving shopping, and owners expect big crowds looking for deals on accessories for Christmas and stocking up on product for the winter.
"I don't think it will be anything like you see at Best Buy or Wal-Mart," said Justin Peterson, a manager at Cinder in Spokane Valley. The store recently opened a second location on Division within city limits. "But we do expect more than the average crowd." Cinder will be offering "door buster" 20-percent off deals on two strains of marijuana at both its locations.
Eric Skar, a manager at Sativa Sisters in the Valley, said the shop will offer discounts on six of its strains. He was careful to call the deals a "price reduction," not a sale, because of stringent advertising laws from the state's Liquor Control Board.
"We just like to play it safe," Skar said.
Brian Smith, a spokesman for the Liquor Control Board, said advertising sales is allowed as long as businesses follow distance guidelines set out in state laws. Pot shops may not advertise within 1,000 feet of "school grounds, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, library, or a game arcade."
Shops also may not sell their product for less than the price they paid to acquire it, according to state laws.
Brandon Mulvey, general manager at Spokane Valley's Greenlight Spokane, said his store will be offering discounted prices on "eighths," an amount common in the black market that means an eighth of an ounce, or 3.5 grams. Strains will be available between $40 and $50, he said.
"We want customers to feel like they have a social connection," he said. "We want people to feel like they're coming to hang out with friends."
Sam Calvert, a managing member of Green Star Cannabis that is just blocks from Spokane Arena, said the shop will also be offering sales that price grams between $9 and $28. But those prices aren't the lowest the shop has advertised.
"I've sold product here for as low as $6 a gram," Calvert said. "That's some of the lowest prices in the state."
Satori, Spokane Green Leaf and the Member's Lounge in Spokane Valley did not immediately respond to requests for information on deals they'd be offering Friday, though cost savings were advertised on their respective Web pages.
Spokane's nine licensed area stores will look to add to mounting tax revenue that has piled up in the roughly five months since the first I-502 shops opened their doors in June. The Liquor Control Board reports $44 million in legal marijuana sales since July, with $11 million collected in excise taxes from retail sales. In October, the board announced Spokane County was leading all Washington counties in revenue from the marijuana industry.