ILWACO — While a delay in the Dungeness crab season curbed one of the coast’s most important commodities, business is booming for another recently planted at the Port of Ilwaco.

“We had to increase our orders — it’s been nuts!” Freedom Market manager Jordyn Holcomb said in between ringing up a steady stream of customers and offering advice about current cannabis strains to those eagerly examining green buds in glass jars, “We’ve had to hire more people.” Since opening October 1, total retail sales have reached $220,515 for the Ilwaco-based dispensary through November according to Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) figures. The amount is considerably more than the total for the two other Pacific County cannabis dispensaries combined, where the Raymond-based Grower’s Outlet and Mr. Doobees earned $126,461 and $38,042 respectively during the same period.

“It’s definitely exceeded our expectations,” Holcomb said. “We kind of thought the Peninsula was more calm, kind of quiet and laid back, but it’s actually got a lot going on down here — more than we thought.”

The first retail marijuana store to open on the Peninsula, Freedom Market’s cornerstone has been their convenience. Many Peninsula customers previously had to travel approximately 20 miles to Astoria or nearly 50 miles to Raymond to reach the nearest pot store.

“There’s a lot of people saying ‘Yay, we don’t have to go across the bridge anymore,’” Holcomb said. The Washington pot store may have also been boosted from recent ripples in Oregon recreational marijuana regulation, which has stymied edible and concentrates availability at some Astoria locations during stretches in October and November. A concentrate called “Freedom Fuel,” selling for $15 per gram, has quickly become a bestseller.

“Concentrates and edibles have been really popular just because it’s so different from Oregon dose and option wise,” Holcomb said. “In Washington you can get up to 16 ounces — up to a pound of edibles and that can range in total milligram. They cap it at 15 mg per day in Oregon.”

More residents are experimenting with marijuana in place of prescription medications according to Holcomb. In the first two months, she’s noticed a steady rise in older, Peninsula customers experimenting with medical marijuana in place of prescriptions, often seeking high CBD strains for pain relief.

“A lot of people have been on a pain pill forever and they just want to give something else a try to see if they can get relief a healthier way,” Holcomb said.

“It seems to be working because they keep coming back.” For more information, visit www.freedommarket420.com

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