Vancouver pot shops gear up for grand openings

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- It's taken a big investment, lots of hard work, and a little bit of luck for Chris Stipe and his partners to get this far.

"It was a perfect fit," Stipe said about his new shop, Main Street Marijuana, which used to be a jewelry store. "We already had the display cases and the safe in the back. It worked out really well."

Stipe says the hardest part was finding a landlord willing to rent to them, and a storefront that was at least 1,000 feet from schools and day cares, but he's hoping all the risk will pay off.

"Why not jump into this? It's a cutting edge thing. It's the start of a billion dollar business. I say get your foot in the door as soon as possible," Stipe said.

He's already secured a 10-pound pot shipment from a grower in Spokane and will be selling with Mayor Tim Leavitt's blessing at 11 a.m. Wednesday when the mayor cuts the ceremonial ribbon.

Across town on East Mill Plain, Brian Budz and his partners at New Vansterdam are planning on opening by Friday.

His shop is much larger, complete with wooden countertops made from an 800-year-old fir tree that was pulled out of the Willamette River.

Budz says they want to do everything by the book and prove to the community they can be an asset and not a liability.

"We live in Vancouver. It's our community. We're doing everything we can to get involved. We do have limitations, but we are trying to get involved in different charities and the community," Budz said.