Welcome to America's First Government-Run Pot Store

The first government-run recreational marijuana store in the country opened this month in Washington State. Revenues from the pot shop will benefit the small town of North Bonneville, in the Columbia River Gorge.

Community leaders there say their town could really use the cash. The economy in that part of the state has been slow to recover since the timber industry collapsed more than two decades ago.

“There is one gas station. There is one restaurant. There is a golf course. And there is the Bonneville Hot Springs Hotel,” said John Spencer, the former city administrator turned consultant.

With a few exceptions he’s just described most of the town’s economy.

A few years ago the town of about 1,000 people stopped watering parks and other public places to save money. And a few months ago it started turning off streetlights to cut down on its electricity bill.

“The city is on its knees...

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