LONG BEACH, Wash. — Marijuana growers and processors across Pacific County are broadening production of concentrates and infused products.
The increases are largely a result of growers becoming more efficient with harvests and extract production, coupled with a deepening demand from customers.
“Out of our Cathlamet, Longview and Kelso locations, this store sells the most dabs out of all of them,” said Jerad Nichols, a budtender at Freedom Market in Ilwaco.
Dabs, or concentrated doses of tetrahydrocannabinol — THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana — come in several consistencies including wax, shatter and butane hash oil, depending on the extraction method.
The Freedom Market in Ilwaco has generated more than $3.2 million in sales since opening in October 2016, the most of Pacific County’s three dispensaries. In comparison, Grower’s Outlet and Mr. Doobees have sold $2.9 million and $1.9 million.
The Freedom Market has averaged more than $120,000 in sales each month, benefiting from being in an ideal spot and opening at the perfect time.
In the fall of 2016, Oregon was undergoing new testing regulations for marijuana concentrates at certified labs, resulting in a backlog of extracts and edibles for distribution to dispensaries around Clatsop County.
A temporary scarcity in concentrates on Clatsop County store shelves led to a surge in sales at stores in Pacific County, where the potent oils were readily available at a relative discount. The trend developed despite federal prohibition of interstate transportation of marijuana products.
“People were coming in because we had good concentrates at a really good price with high numbers,” Nichols said. “We have some that start at about $12 per gram and a lot in the $15 to $18 category.”
Outdoor harvests in Oregon have since slashed price disparities, allowing Clatsop County stores to counter with rock-bottom prices of their own, including grams less than $12 at The Farmacy and Sweet Relief.
Concentrated cannabis oils have become increasingly popular as an alternative to prescription medications.
“A lot of people have been cutting back on their medications and using oils,” Nichols said.
Customers often seek concentrates for relief of side effects from cancer treatments, arthritis, fibromyalgia and muscular dystrophy, but sales haven’t been exclusive to a particular age group or demographic.
“I’m surprised by how many senior citizens who have taken up dabbing,” Nichols said. “I had some people in here earlier in their 60s and 70s seeking dabs. It’s not just the kids, everybody seems to have gravitated towards it in one way or another.”
Cannabis concentrates are also popular for consumers who don’t want to smoke or eat edibles but still want the benefits.
“We beefed up in the concentrate department because we’re a top seller and they move out of here really quickly,” Nichols said. “There are also a lot of growers producing a lot more concentrates because it’s been picking up in popularity.”