The Associated Press and the Idaho Statesman—both of which are a part of the deeply feared and dreaded “opposition party” Emperor Pussy Grabber has spoken of—ran pieces last week that give some insight into just how much people enjoy cannabis.
The stories looked at Huntington, Oregon, a town so small I wasn’t aware it even existed. (Which is exactly the sort of thing someone in Portland would say.) It’s the equivalent size of Trump’s hands, boasting a population of 435 people. And like many small towns, it wasn’t exactly bursting with commerce and hope, as businesses closed down and people continued to move away.
For nearly a year, the city argued whether it should allow cannabis sales, finally opting to take a chance. And my goodness, that may have been one of the greatest choices ever made in Huntington. (Which is exactly the sort of thing a cannabis columnist would say.)
Two cannabis dispensaries opened up, and that’s when things got really good for Huntington. The city is a border town with our slightly more (okay, much more) uptight neighbors to the east, the good people of your own private Idaho. A 30-minute drive from Huntington along I-84 will take you across the Snake River and into the largest population center of the area, Treasure Valley. The Treasure Valley vicinity is home to 660,000 residents, and by all accounts, they really, really enjoy cannabis.
How much, you ask? Enough that there is often a two-and-a-half-hour wait to make a purchase at Huntington’s two cannabis dispensaries. A member of Huntington’s City Council explains that while they wait, those customers will often hang out and grab a burger, further adding to the small town’s fragile economy.
And it’s definitely potato-loving immigrants making the buys. The Statesman noted that at 9 am on February 24, 12 of the 14 cars parked in a dispensary lot had Idaho license plates. On a busy day, a dispensary might see 600 customers walk through their doors.
When it’s their turn to shop at one of the dispensaries, these Idaho canna tourists are dropping up to $14.40 per gram on flower, along with a variety of edibles, concentrates, and other cannabis products.
The sales add up quick. Huntington officials say that just one of the two dispensaries estimates it will pay out $100,000 to the city in taxes per year. The total of the city’s general fund is $200,000, so if the other dispensary is seeing similar revenue, these two cannabis businesses are effectively funding the entire town. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the additional revenue the state will dole out, as 10 percent of the 17 percent tax levied on cannabis sales is allocated for law enforcement initiatives in cities and counties.
And remember, this doesn’t include all the money being spent in Huntington while people wait the two-plus hours to make their cannabis purchases. Other businesses are being opened nearby, including a hot dog stand and a head shop, with plans for a new restaurant in the works, too.
Someone not enjoying all of this free-market enterprise is Idaho’s Republican governor, the honorable Butch Otter (which might be the best drag name of all time). Butchie Boy doesn’t like cannabis, not one little bit, and on January 30, he sent a letter to Trump saying as much. Per the Statesman, it read, in part, “Among the most pressing concerns facing Idaho, both from the criminal and public health standpoints, is the utter lack of consistency displayed by the Obama administration in enforcement of federal marijuana laws... In that respect, Idaho is a virtual island of compliance, and we are paying the price.”
Elisha Figueroa, head of Idaho’s Office of Drug Policy, said that Oregon’s legal marijuana has the same effect as illegal pollution that damages its neighboring states. (Uh, no. No, it’s not like that at all.)
Cannabis is an economic engine that creates jobs, and can stabilize and grow economies. So on your next trip to Idaho, stop in to Huntington and support their economy. It helps both you and the city, and it pisses off Governor Otter. We all win.