Her pot shop in the quaint Whidbey Island community of Langley is scarcely bigger than a shoe, and Maureen Cooke fits right in. "Yes, indeed. I feel like Mother Hubbard," she said.
Cooke's cupboard is bare.
Her store, Whidbey Island Cannabis Company, was the very first on the list for legal licenses in Washington. She thought she’d be open for business on Tuesday, when marijuana was first made legally available in Washington, but as of Friday, the closest thing to weed in her shop was a potted plant.
"People are coming through the door, people are calling and I have to sit here and tell them we have no product," she said.
Twenty-four licenses have been granted to retailers across the state, but only a handful have anything to sell.
Despite Cooke’s empty counter, the customers keep coming. The waiting list for weed is 100 people long. That’s doesn't include the 60 or so customers who leave empty handed everyday. Each one of them represents money walking out the door, while Cooke pays rent and workers.
"Frustrating, frustrating," she said. "That’s an understatement."
Cooke is already more than $20,000 in the hole and hasn’t sold a single joint.
Many growers got their licenses late from the state. At the same time, distributors have to wait for a backlog of pot to get tested for purity.
"I’m hoping the state is going to hold off on licensing more retailers because right now the 24 are not being supplied," she said. "It isn't fair."
But on Friday, Cooke got a spark of hope. She received word there may soon be some pot in the pipeline. She's hoping to get her first delivery by July 18.
Until then, Whidbey’s Mother Hubbard is holding on for Father Time. "I guess we’ll just have to hurry up and wait."