NORTH BONNEVILLE, Wa. -- One local government is going all-in, now that recreational marijuana is legal in the state of Washington.
The city of North Bonneville, in the Columbia River Gorge has opened its own retail pot store, and says it could be the key to the city's future.
“I never thought we would see this day,” said Craig Forster, North Bonneville City Council. “We've talked about it a lot, and we didn't think it would ever happen.”
There was a steady stream of customers at the grand opening of the cannabis corner, the nation's first government-owned marijuana store.
Initially “a lot of the citizens were against it,” Forster said, but most everybody got behind the concept when they say how much money would be earned from the sales.
“There's still some people who oppose it, but I'm ok with that,” Forster said.
All of the profits from Cannabis Corner will be used for public health and safety projects within the county.
Marijuana, paraphernalia and edible sales could ring up $200,000 a year, nearly 20-percent of North Bonneville’s entire city budget.
“It's a great town, we've got some great hiking trails, some great businesses located here, but not enough to really sustain a full city government, and so that's where we come along is to help fund some of those projects the city can't do themselves,” said Tim Dudley, who works on public development within the district.
“The first project that we have on the books is updating the children's playground in the city park,” he said.
The sellers are government employees, and they tell us the product is organic and local.
“They're all kind of trying things that are good for the environment, as natural as possible, and to test new things out is really fun for us,” said the manager of the Cannabis Corner, Robyn Legun.
Many customers seemed satisfied.
“Very professional, very knowledgeable,” customer Kathy Perez said, “I learned more about the different strains than I ever knew existed.”
Will marijuana become a new way to pay for the business of government, in other cities across America?