They came from New Zealand, from Austin, Texas, and from right around the corner in Lynnwood.
By the time Herbal Nation opened at noon Monday, about 65 people were in a line that snaked out into the parking lot, waiting to buy legal pot. The Bothell store, located on Highway 527 between 192nd and 194th streets, became the second marijuana shop in the Seattle area to open its doors. Prices ranged from about $17 to $25 per gram of marijuana before sales tax.
Although the opening lacked some of the pageantry of July 8, the first day recreational pot stores opened in Washington, the atmosphere was festive. Green advertising inflatables danced at the store’s entrance. A deejay spun classic rock and reggae beats with marijuana themes. Employees whisked water bottles out to customers waiting on the hot asphalt outside. Although the store did a brisk business, the line looked no shorter 45 minutes past the hour.
Lauren Downes, Herbal Nation’s spokeswoman, said she expected to sell to more than 1,000 customers its first day of business. Licensed by the state Liquor Control Board on July 18, Downes said Herbal Nation held off on opening its doors until it felt confident it could keep them open. She declined to say how much supply the business had.
“We waited to open for a month so we could establish relationships with producers,” she said. With supply low across the state, Downes said it was a struggle to find producers who were charging the prices Herbal Nation sought. “If you’re paying exorbitant amounts, how do you not pass that on to consumers?” asked Downes.
Will Herbal Nation be able to keep up with demand? Downes said the company did not “foresee having to limit” the amount customers could buy beyond the state’s one ounce limit and did not expect supply shortages down the road. She expected to have edibles from Seattle’s DB3 in stock next week.
With three counters of bongs, glass pipes and even 24K gold rolling papers, Herbal Nation attracted a mix of locals and pot tourists buying legal weed for the first time.
Keiko Gorum, a tourist visiting Seattle from Austin, Texas said she hadn’t used marijuana in about 40 years, but heard that Herbal Nation was opening and decided to check it out. “This is all new to me,” said Gorum. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
With the direction of a store employee, she bought a single pre-rolled joint low in THC and said she’d use it back at her hotel room.
Herman Hill, meanwhile, who lives in Lynnwood, bought an eighth of an ounce of (about 3.5 grams) of high-THC indica for $80 before sales tax.
Hill said he occasionally used pot but had never bought it before, legally or illegally. “I was always given some,” he said. Hill said he was impressed with the store’s strict ID check and low-stress atmosphere. “I’ll be back,” he said.
He did have one concern, though.
“My wife doesn’t know I’m doing this. I’ve already been on the news though,” said Hill. “She’ll find out one way or another.”