Supply problems persist for Yakima County pot stores one month in

UNION GAP, Wash. -- It's been a month since pot stores opened across the state and here in Yakima County. And, they've been busy. But, it hasn't been all smooth sailing.

Adam Markus summed it up this way.

"I think the single most used word is, it's going to be 'interesting'. And, it's been interesting."

Markus opened Station 420 in Union Gap a month ago as Yakima County's first pot shop.

He says sales have been through the roof. But, a product shortage has him temporarily closed.

It's the same for Mary Van de Graaf, whose pot shop, Mill Creek Suite A, opened just down the street in late July. She says in one week of business, she sold about two pounds before running short.

Neither has totally run dry. Both have pot stocked away, but only in large amounts. Not the most popular one-gram bags.

"A lot of the suppliers are saying that they don't want to package that way," said Markus. "They're telling us that it's too labor-intensive to package in one-gram packages, but that's what my customers want."

Add to that, the high cost of inventory.

KIMA asked, "Has it been difficult trying to find cheap supply?"

"It has been," said Van de Graaf. "I'm on the phone two, three hours a day calling everybody, begging, and then they tell me the price."

But, prices could fall with the harvest around the corner. A technician at Yakima's marijuana testing lab -- Analytical 360 -- expects more samples from growers in the weeks to come.

Statewide, the retail marijuana business shows no signs of slowing. So far, 38 licenses have been handed out, with 15 stores actually doing business.

A spokesperson from the Washington State Liquor Control Board says sales have hit almost $4 million. The state stands to collect almost $1 million from that in excise taxes alone.

And, more money is on the way. Union Gap is bracing for a third store to open sometime this fall. The tiny town has already outpaced Seattle, where only one store is open for business.

When it comes to security, both owners told KIMA they haven't had any problems. No break-ins by anyone trying to steal their pot. And, no problems with customers.