ASTORIA — Five Zero Trees, a Portland-based dispensary, has opened along Commercial Street in August, bringing Astoria’s pot-store total to six. While some wonder what the carrying capacity might be for a city of less than 10,000, one marijuana business on the outskirts of town has been preparing to plant its roots a little deeper by dramatically increasing pot production.
Plans to expand the grow room are in place at The Farmacy, which will hasten harvests and increase yields for the store located at 2911 Marine Drive, where approximately 20 percent of the marijuana is grown onsite.
“Today we harvest 15 pounds every three months, but we expect to do that every month when we finish the expansion downstairs,” co-owner Omar Guerrero said. The current grow and drying room occupies about 1,200 square feet of basement space, but the expansion will essentially double the space, providing more area for flowering plants as well as clones and “mother” plants, according to Guerrero.
While some dispensaries boast of having dozens of different strains, Guerrero said their focus is keeping the inventory moving and “fresh” each week.
“We don’t have a huge inventory, but we have new, fresh product every week,” Guerrero said. “We can update the inventory more often. We don’t want 50 or 60 strains sitting there for months.”
Guerrero said the vast majority of his customers are recreational consumers, with medical patients accounting for only about 10 percent of purchases. He feels that many people — particularly older customers — may not be aware of the benefits of cannabis. In July, store manager Josh Takko and co-owner Nick Polazzo made a presentation at the Astoria Senior Center about the medical benefits of cannabis oils, edibles and topicals.
“A lot of benefits come from cannabis,” Guerrero said.“Recreational is only part of it.”
Across the river in Pacific County, pot stores are celebrating what has been a historic summer season for sales.
For the trio of stores on the Washington side, combined monthly sales exceeded $500,000 for the first time ever in August 2017.
In Ilwaco, Freedom Market saw nearly $170,000 in recreational sales, their best month since opening in October 2016. It was a similar story in Seaview, where Mr. Doobees sold nearly $110,000 — $10,000 more than their previous record monthly high. In Raymond, Grower’s Outlet sold $92,874, approximately $25,000 more than they sold last in August 2016. Separately accounted medicinal sales pushed the total for the three stores above half a million for the month.