Image of Main Street Marijuana, Washington state's top recreational marijuana store
Oregon marijuana users helped propel a Vancouver retailer to the top recreational weed shop in Washington.
Main Street Marijuana sold $1.8 million in May alone, the state liquor control board announced this week, besting Seattle-based Uncle Ike's $1.5 million. Another Vancouver-based shop, New Vansterdam, ranked third in the state with $1.2 million in May sales.
Marijuana sales across Washington have continued to increase since the state began allowing legal sales of the recreational drug last year. In May, Washington marijuana shops sold a combined $41.5 million.
Main Street has come out on top three months in a row, in part, owner Ramsey Hamide said, because it draws customers from two states.
"Probably half of our business is from Oregon," Hamide said.
Washington law allows residents from outside the state to buy marijuana products, but they are legally required to consume or use them in Washington. (All customers must be at least 21 years old.) Oregon buyers don't get a break on the sales tax, either: All marijuana sales are subject to the state's 8.4 percent sales tax and another 25 percent excise tax.
Clark County has five retailers. They have paid a total of $5 million in excise taxes since last year. Only King and Snohomish counties -- whose combined 42 retailers serve Seattle and its suburbs -- have paid more.
Hamide, a former ticket broker, said he chose his shop's location precisely for its proximity to Portland. He noted that shops in Spokane have also benefited from selling near the Idaho border. Main Street serves about 25,000 customers a month, but Hamide said that could change when Oregon begins licensing retail marijuana outlets next year.
"We know our business will be impacted when Oregon comes online, but we have some tricks up our sleeve," Hamide said. "I want to be the cheapest weed store in the world."
Right now, a gram of marijuana costs $10 and a half-ounce costs $99 at Main Street. About 70 percent of Main Street's sales are marijuana buds. Edibles, pre-rolled joints and oils each account for about 10 percent of sales.
Main Street Marijuana opened in July in Vancouver's Uptown Village. Hamide sold about $357,000 that first month. Business fluctuated for a few months before topping $1.5 million in March. The store is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.
"For us, it's been a long road since we opened in July," Hamide said. "To be on top is a validation that we're doing the right thing for the customer. We want to have the best selection and the best prices."

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