PROSSER – For a day, anyway, Altitude has cornered the market on retail marijuana sales in the Yakima Valley.
The Prosser store was the first in this region to sell marijuana this morning, Tuesday.
One other valley retail location, Verde Valley in Union Gap, hopes to open tomorrow afternoon, according to purchasing consultant Stefan De Lano.
That left Altitude alone to do pot business today, and spokesperson Manel Valenzuela said 60 to 80 people lined up outside the store this morning for what he called a “soft opening.”
Altitude, whose owners include former Sunnyside chiropractor Tim Thompson, is selling a limited amount of marijuana during its first days in business.
“We’re excited about everyone’s enthusiasm, but we’re limiting it to 300 customers per day to make sure our product lasts,” says Valenzuela.
A few hours after Altitude opened this morning, Thompson said there was still a line of about 60 people outside the store’s doors.
“It’s going great. Everyone’s excited to be part of history,” said Thompson. “It’s a hot day so we’re handing out water to people.”
Thompson, who owns Altitude along with Dr. Ken Delp of Zillah, said Altitude received its first shipment about 10 minutes before it opened its doors this morning. “It was kind of stressful,” he said.
The store is planning a July 20 grand opening.
Today was the first day to legally sell retail marijuana in accordance with 2012’s voter-approved I-502. Yesterday, the state’s Liquor Control Board issued 24 retail licenses.
In anticipation of marijuana retail sales, the board last month announced emergency rules that include a label and product approval process for marijuana-infused edible products.
Also anticipating high demand for retail marijuana, the Liquor Control Board says to date it has licensed more than 687,000 square-feet of plant canopy for marijuana production, roughly the equivalent of a dozen football fields.