EVERETT — Marijuana shoppers might soon have more options in Everett.
A current city ordinance allows only five such shops to operate within the city limits, but councilmembers are weighing the economic and social benefits of increasing that number.
Wednesday night, at the request of a councilmember, staff presented figures on how much revenue the city has collected from marijuana sales. They also reviewed the number of times police have been called to the stores.
In 2018, the city’s share of taxes from pot sales reached $442,000, up from $276,000 in 2017 and $301,000 in 2016.
Between November 2017 and September 2018, the five stores combined generated almost $17 million in sales, according to the latest data available from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board. Everett’s highest grossing store, by far, was Kushmart, 6309 Evergreen Way, which accounted for almost half of all sales. Legal sale of recreational marijuana in Washington began in 2014.
Councilmember Liz Vogeli, who asked for the information, is proposing to double the number of marijuana shops in the city and loosen restrictions on where stores can be located. The Liquor and Cannabis Board, which sets the maximum number of marijuana licenses allowed in each city, already has authorized 10 for Everett.
Increasing the number of stores to the full allotment would be treating cannabis stores like any another other business, Vogeli said in an interview Thursday.
“They are not harmful,” Vogeli said, disputing those who believe marijuana is a detriment to society. “If Everett can be friendly to businesses, that will help with revenue.”
The number of police calls varied by store. Three of the stores were in line with the average number of police calls received from bars and taverns — about one or less per month, according to Lyle Ryan, chief of staff to the mayor.
Police calls to Kushmart and Mari J’s Highway Pot Shop, 9506 19th Ave SE, were higher, averaging 4.8 and 3.7 per month, respectively.
Mari J’s was forced to close earlier this year after being caught up in an allegedly fraudulent loan scheme.
Calls were mostly related to property crime, such as burglaries, thefts and trespass complaints, said Dan Templeman, Everett’s police chief.
The council’s public safety committee plans to continue considering expansion, and has asked staff to research if revenue has risen in cities that have allowed more cannabis stores, or whether supply eventually exceeded demand.