Boyer buys four grams of Sour Kush and thrusts his hands in the air. “First customer!” he yells, and then races out to high-five the hundred or so people waiting in line outside. He invites all the media to his house for a tasting afterwards.
The television guys seem genuinely interested. The next day, he would contact the media again to say he had been fired from his security job—apparently a zero-tolerance employer—after his bosses spotted him on TV and made him take a drug test. Online commenters at the local newspaper’s website were divided about whether he was a “dillweed” or just a “dufus”. Boyer says he’s looking for another job, hopefully in the marijuana industry.
The Inlander this week: “Witness to History”.
Spokane Green Leaf is the only shop in Spokane, or anywhere in the eastern half of Washington, that is open for business on this first day of legal recreational drug sales. The legalization was approved by ballot initiative in November of 2012. Legal weed shops will be regulated by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, whom I remember from my years in Seattle as the monopoly that ran liquor stores that were never open when you needed them. They are no longer the exclusive sellers of hard alcohol in the state, but they’ve brought their enthusiasm for bureaucracy to the legal weed trade. A sampling of the rules: stores cannot be within a thousand feet of a park or school or library. Retailers are allowed one 1,600-square-inch sign with their business name.
The resolution of their security cameras must be at least 640×470 pixels. The Board held a lottery for the 334 licenses it granted, but the rigorous “seed to sale” tracking and other complications meant that very few of the approved stores could open on time, and those that could had a shortage of product. On opening day, only one shop in all of Seattle was doing business.
The good news at Spokane Green Leaf is that there is plenty of weed. Co-owner Kirk, who doesn’t want to give his last name, says that he has approximately eight pounds for sale, something north of 3600 grams. That’s a lot of little baggies.
Who will be there to stand tall for the drug dealers?
Who will be there to stand tall for the drug dealers? While everyone else seems to be enjoying the pre-game giddiness, Moose is here representing the street dealers whom the state of Washington is trying to put out of business.
Moose stands in the shade, as large as his name, wearing an oversized t-shirt with scripture from Proverbs 25:28: “He that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made FAT”. He moved here from the Midwest seven months ago for a “fresh new start in the marijuana world.” He says he’s been smoking since he was seven, dealing since he was a teenager, and growing almost as long. And when he looks at this latest innovation in marijuana—this upscale retail shop with air conditioning, free bottles of water, a lacquered hardwood counter and little 2g baggies of weed that sell for $50—he sees not just legalization, but gentrification. The well-to-do get to smoke weed legally. Everyone else still risks imprisonment and ruin.