Local Smoke Shops Seeing Increase in Business - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Smoke Shops Seeing Increase in Business

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Local smoke shops say they're seeing an increase in business since recreational marijuana became legal in Washington state on Thursday.

People have lots of questions about marijuana now that it's legal and they're directing some of those questions toward local smoke shops.

Store owners are benefiting from increased sales, but they're also serving as educators, explaining to people that they don't sell marijuana.

"Bunch of people coming in and asking questions and I've had a ton of phone calls. Ton of phone calls," said Tim Adams, owner of Hippies smoke shop in Kennewick.

Adams says people are turning to him asking if they can buy marijuana at his shop. And if not there, where can they get it? He has to explain it's still not legal to sell marijuana and he's not in that line of work. He's also seeing customers curious about how to use items to smoke the drug.

"What the holes on the side are for. They're asking whether it's a water pipe. How it's used. I'm just getting asked a lot of questions you'd only get asked if you're an inexperienced smoker," Adams said.

Adams said he sees what he calls, closet smokers, coming in now who feel more comfortable buying items.

A growing interest and acceptance in marijuana is increasing sales at local smoke shops, particularly in glass pipes.

"We have a seasonally adjusted increase of 27 percent increase that we can relate directly to passage of I-502," said Clay Looney, owner of Rock-n-Roll It Glass and Smoke Shop.

There are estimates that marijuana could become a multi-billion dollar industry but that doesn't mean smoke shops will want to sell it once the state figures out regulation.

"Absolutely not. I'm still adamant about it. We're never going to be a dispensary," Adams said.

"Not likely. That's going to take someone with a great deal of expertise in that specific area. I wouldn't close the door on that certainly, but it's not part of our business model currently," Looney said.

Adams said one reason he wouldn't ever get into selling marijuana is a concern about criminal activity and how it could threaten his business.