Whatcom County no slouch when it comes to marijuana sales

By Steve Guntli

A new study places Whatcom County eighth in the state for recreational marijuana sales.

Last week, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy released the study, “I-502 Evaluation Plan and Preliminary Report on Implementation.” Initiative 502, the bill that legalized marijuana for recreational use, requires the institute to issue a study about the impact legal pot has had on public safety and the economy.

Institute representatives stress that it is too soon to fully evaluate the impact legalized pot has had on the state, but this study lays important groundwork going forward. The institute will release another study in 2017.

The study evaluated pot sales on a per capita basis. Whatcom County ranks eighth overall, with per capita spending of $39.39. The average sales among retailers were $889,499. The nine retailers in the county drew in a total of $8 million between July 2014 and June 2015.

Klickitat County topped the list with $65.80 per capita, with a total of $1.3 million in sales between its three retailers. King County, the most populous in the state, had per capita use of $24.39, with 34 retailers drawing in $48 million.

The study also indicated that adult cannabis use has risen slightly since I-502 was enacted. According to the study, the prevalence of adult cannabis use in 2011 was 46.5 percent. In 2013, one year after I-502 was approved, pot use rose to 48.6 percent.

The study indicates attitudes about pot use among kids have been changing as well. While the actual use of marijuana for kids between 6th and 12th grades hasn’t changed much, fewer kids think of marijuana as harmful.

Read the study at wsipp.wa.gov/Reports.

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