Washington City Launches Nation's First Government Owned Pot Shop

By McCarton Ackerman 03/10/15

The operators of Cannabis Corner hope their profits will boost the local economy.

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A small city in Washington has opened up the first-ever government owned marijuana shop in the U.S., hoping that the added profits will give a much needed boost to their struggling economy.

North Bonneville, located in the Columbia River Gorge, has opened up Cannabis Corner, and pledged to use all the profits for public health and safety projects within the country. They’ve estimated that marijuana, paraphernalia, and edible sales could bring in $200,000 per year, which is nearly 20% of their current city budget. The new store is also creating jobs since all of the sellers are government employees.

“It’s a great town. We’ve got some great hiking trails, some great businesses located here, but not enough to really sustain a full city government,” said Tim Dudley, who works on public development within the district. “Where we come along is to help fund some of those projects the city can’t do themselves. The first project that we have on the books (with the store’s money) is updating the children’s playground in the city park."

The opening day of business at Cannabis Corner saw a steady stream of customers arrive, most of whom were impressed about the employees’ knowledge of different pot strains. Craig Forster of the North Bonneville City Council said that most residents supported the project when they realized how much money could be earned from sales. He acknowledged that “there’s still some people who oppose it, but I’m okay with that.”

It was confirmed last month that Colorado took in $53 million in tax revenue during its first year of legal marijuana sales. However, it’s still a significantly lower number than the $70 million than the state estimated. Economists have hypothesized that fewer people were eager to purchase legal marijuana because it costs significantly more than illegal pot. They also suggested that the state overestimated how many medical marijuana patients would switch over to legal pot.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.