Town's Mayor Is First Customer at City-Run Pot Shop

Town's Mayor Is First Customer at City-Run Pot Shop

North Bonneville Mayor Don Stevens uses his seasoned recreational-smoker's nose to select the first purchase at Cannabis Corner.

We told you about the first government-run marijuana store opening in North Bonneville, Washington, and the benefits it will bring to the small town, but a new development has made this venture seem even more impressive. Cannabis Corner opened this weekend, and the town’s very own Mayor Don Stevens was its first customer.

“It’s great,” Mayor Stevens said. “It’s a great mixture of excitement and relief. It’s been a real community effort and it’s absolutely rewarding to see.”

Cannabis Corner is run by the city’s Public Development Authority, a group specifically created for this purpose. Initially the city government loaned Cannabis Corner $15,000 to get going; the loan has already been paid back in full by money raised by private investors, many of which live in the town themselves.

Since the store is owned by the local government and not just private entrepreneurs, profits will directly benefit the town, in addition to providing the state with beneficial tax revenue. All store profits will go into the fund run by the Public Development Authority, which will then give grants to different city projects after hearing proposals, such as renovations to the town's run-down park and jungle gym.

Furthermore, the store itself will help the town’s economy by creating jobs, raising property values, and making little North Bonneville a destination for tourists and state residents alike. Mayor Stevens said the city hopes marijuana growers and processors will buy or lease land in town and bring even more jobs to the North Bonneville.

The extensive Q&A on the city’s website says, “The reality is that our property values are already at record lows. It’s hard to imagine how being in the forefront on an emerging era with the increased tourist traffic, greater economic opportunities, and a national media presence could lower property values any further. The only way appears to be up.”

As the first city government–run dispensary in the nation, Cannabis Corner will form the blueprint for future towns that see the same possible benefits to their struggling economies.

“It’s a really great solution for these small, rural communities that need to raise a little bit of revenue,” said Robyn Legun, Cannabis Corner’s general manager. “I think it’s a really viable option for other towns and cities like this.”