Washington's experiment with retail weed gets set for 1-year birthday

Jim Sulton is frank about his accomplishments during three years of running a state agency. He says he fell short of goals like making college-admission standards more fair to first-generation students and reducing the number of students who drop out of college. 

“These were all things that I passionately still believe in, (but) reluctantly have to admit I wasn’t able to accomplish at the HECB,” said Sulton, the former executive director of what was then called the Higher Education Coordinating Board. 

But now, operating out of a tiny house between a fruit stand and a 7-Eleven, the grandfather of four can say he’s part of a major social change. “It’s turning around,” Sulton said. “It may be a little bit like a large ship at sea turning around, but the steering wheel is turning in the right direction, and that’s where it’s going.” Then he gets out of his chair to welcome another customer to his marijuana shop. 

Olympia’s A Bud and Leaf is one of more than 160 state-licensed stores that collectively are selling more than $1.5 million worth of marijuana daily as Washington’s experiment with legal weed sales turns a year old Wednesday. Their sales include more than 150 pounds a day of smokable marijuana plus an assortment of products to be chewed, sipped and inhaled.