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How Cannabis Is Supporting Washington State’s Retail Sector

Blame it on Amazon. Or blame it on Wal-Mart. You can blame it on trade imbalances. But no matter where you point the finger, it is abundantly clear that the Retail Apocalypse has officially descended on America, as Business Insider so succinctly put it. Brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to stay in business. Nearly 30 percent of shopping malls in America are in jeopardy of shutting down.

But there is some good news, at least in the state of Washington. Taxable sales from retailers in this state increased 6 percent to $63.2 billion in 2016, according to the state Department of Revenue.

And the type of store that grew sales the most last year? Drug and health stores — due, undoubtedly, to the growth in retail pot shops.

Drug and health stores overall had $2.63 billion in taxable sales last year, up 17 percent from a year ago. Marijuana sales made up about 27 percent of that. At $697 million, that was up 83 percent since 2015, according to the Revenue Department.


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