If you are a statistics geek like me, you will love lemonhaze.com. Owned by football-coach-turned-cannabis-number-cruncher Brian Yauger and financially backed by Shmuel Tennenhaus, an advisor at MassRoots, it’s updated hourly with the hottest-selling cannabis items in Seattle. It’s the consumer-friendly side of frontrunnerdata.com and Tetratrak, LLC, data-tracking services used by retailers, processors, and producers to monitor the buying habits of Washington stoners. Usually this information is kept out of consumers’ hands, but now we can see what we’re all smoking, eating, and dabbing. The numbers are frozen at 4:20 each day, natch, and the updates start all over at midnight. The information comes from stores, dispensaries, processors, and producers that voluntarily sign up for the service.
On the front page, you can scroll through sales statistics for pre-rolls, wax, edibles, even topicals, and look at the 50 top-selling items in each category. It’s fun to watch numbers come in. But if you head to the site’s blog, that’s where the real meat is, as well as some great analytical tools. Which counties had the highest and lowest retail markups in 2016? Okanagan and Grays Harbor, respectively, which means buy your weed in Aberdeen and smoke it in Omak. Or maybe you’re interested in seeing what stores are buying your favorite producers? Or a side-by-side comparison of the number of weed stores to the number of Starbucks in Washington? Or you’re curious about how many miles of joints Seattleites smoked last year? There’s a chart for all that.
I was blown away to see that Washington retailers have almost doubled their sales since this time last year, up from more than $48 million in April 2016 to more than $74 million in April 2017 alone. In 2016, Washington retailers averaged about $57 million a month; so far in 2017, nearly $72 million a month. If we keep this up, retailers will hit that fabled $1 billion year.
So who is doing all this spending? Currently, stoners in King County, where we are shelling out more than $21 million a month on weed products—no surprise, given that our county is the most populous. But not everyone in King County is smoking, even if it feels like it when you walk outside on a lovely spring night and watch the clouds of smoke rolling over Cal Anderson Park. The current population estimate for King County is a little over two million, and a 2016 Gallup poll says about 1 in 8 people in the U.S. have reefer madness; so, doing a little math … carry the six … that adds up to just under 274,000 stoners. Add in taxes (37.5 percent excise tax, 9.5 percent sales tax), and King County stoners are dropping, on average, around $120 a month on weed—about half of what I saved when I quit smoking weed for a month last year. What I have ultimately learned from all this is that clearly some of us are carrying the rest of you, and y’all need to be throwing down more in those group sessions.