BELLINGHAM - The first day of business on Wednesday, Aug. 20, was a quiet one for Cascade Herb Co., the third marijuana store to open in Bellingham.
When Top Shelf Cannabis opened July 8, the first day of legal recreational pot sales in Washington state, it did so to a crush of media and hundreds of customers excited to be part of history as the next phase of the highly regulated industry rolled out. When 2020 Solutions opened its doors July 10, the crowd wasn't as deep but demand remained high.
Cascade Herb Co. owner Justin West said he preferred steady traffic to having to deal with opening and closing the business to match the availability of pot, as retailers here and in other parts of the state have had to do because of tight supply.
"It comes down to being able to provide good quality product and a diverse product line," West said, adding that he eventually hoped to be able to offer up to 60 different strains at any given time.
Bellingham resident Herb Goodwin was the first customer of the day, buying one gram of a strain called Blue Dream, after the store's opening at noon.
"I wish you prosperity. I'm glad this is happening," Goodwin said to West.
Outside the store, Goodwin gave a number of reasons why he was at Cascade Herb on Wednesday. The store is at 1240 E. Maple St., Suite 103, in Samish Way Place.
"I wanted to support this new business. They're in my neighborhood," he said, before joking, "They named the store after me."
On Wednesday, Cascade Herb was selling one gram of Blue Dream for $27.50, two grams for $55 and 3.5 grams for $96.25. The price included the excise tax for recreational pot mandated by state law, but not the sales tax.
"We've got tax on tax," Goodwin said, noting prices were steep.
He said he could have bought Blue Dream for $10 a gram.
That's how much medical marijuana dispensaries are charging for a gram of the strain in the area, according to Leafly.com, an online site that tracks recreational and medical marijuana.
But Kathy Leathers, who was with Goodwin, said the two prices shouldn't be compared.
"There's a difference between medical and recreational," said Leathers, a Bellingham resident.
"Recreational marijuana is a choice. I think it should be a money-maker for the state, just like liquor is," she said.
West, like other retailers, expects prices to go down once more of the state's pot growers get licensed by the state and get going.
Cascade Herb also is selling glass pipes and bongs from Keep It Glassy and Mt. Baker Glassworks.
The store's phone number is 360-778-2357.
No pot stores have opened in other parts of Whatcom County.
Top Shelf Cannabis is at 3863 Hannegan Road, Unit 107, in Henifin Plaza. More is at topshelfcannabisbellingham.com or 360-733-9000.
2020 Solutions is at 2018 Iron St. More is at i502solutions.com, or call 360-920-5771.
They also can be found on Facebook.