Recreational marijuana sales have soared in August, thanks in part to a big Friday that came in the midst of several large-scale marijuana events in Western Washington.
According to sales figures tracked by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, more than $5.1 million worth of legal pot has been sold in the state since Aug. 1. About a sixth of that total was sold Friday, Aug. 15, during the "Canna Con" exposition in Tacoma and the annual Hempfest celebration in Seattle. The state reported sales of about $860,000 worth of product on that day, doubling the closest competitor for busiest sales day nationwide.
The Liquor Control Board says more than $8.3 million worth of marijuana has been sold legally since July 8, with excise taxes reaching more than $2 million.
That $5.1 million figure is almost $2 million more than the amount of legal weed sold in July, over roughly the same number of days.
While the expo is likely one of the causes of the big sales day earlier this month, Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith said many factors are contributing to a growth in sales.
"As of last week, we'd licensed 46 retailers, with something in the upper 30s reporting sales," Smith said. "More and more product is coming into the market."
Some businesses are reporting their sales at the end of the week, leading to a normal bump on Fridays and Saturdays, Smith said. Another encouraging sign is the rate at which the department is receiving owed taxes, he said. The Liquor Control Board said 97-percent of the taxes owed had been paid to the state, a rate Smith called impressive.
In addition, about 75 percent of taxes were paid with a check rather than cash, indicating retailers were using banks to deposit their money, Smith said. He did not say whether those checks were issued in the name of a business or an individual.