SPOKANE, Wash. - Here's a story you probably didn't expect to read: There's so much marijuana being grown in Washington state, and with only a handful of retailers, growers are having a hard time selling their product following the fall harvest.
You read that right: There's too much marijuana in Washington right now.
With nearly 300 licensed growers and less than 100 retail stores the competition is almost too much after the big fall harvest, which has left stores fairly well stocked with marijuana.
Producers are now left wondering who they're going to sell to, with some making door to door trips to stores. It's a stark change from just seven months ago there wasn't enough marijuana to keep store shelves stocked.
The Top Shelf in Airway Heights sees the problem firsthand. They have as many as four different producers that come in daily wanting to sell their product.
"Sales reps from the farms are being honest and saying hey we've got a whole lot of product to move from the harvest last season," Top Shelf manager Jenn Bordoy said. "We have some processors visiting us now as we speak."
With only 85 retail stores across Washington state and 270 licensed growers, competition is stiff.
Farmer J's in Spokane Valley processes about 30 pounds of marijuana a week, but is only selling about two-thirds of it.
"Being at the very beginning, we supplied about 50 percent of the product opening day, we couldn't produce enough of it and now there's a lot of competition," Farmer J's owner Jared Hurling said.
Hurling said his company is better off than most, with his product in almost half the stores across the state. However, even he says they're not making anything after all the bills are paid. Hurling said that either more retail stores need to open or the state needs to stop giving out producer/processor licenses.
"This industry needs it in order to succeed, right now I would say at best, we're treading water," he said.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board said its possible approximately 100 more retail stores will open in the next month.