Washington Pot Shops Open for Business


Courtesy of The Tampa Tribune

On Tuesday, Washington became the second state to allow people, living in and out of state, to buy marijuana legally in the Unites States without a doctor’s note. Several dozen people lined up outside shops like Top Shelf Cannabis, in Bellingham near Seattle, to purchase the drug as soon as state regulations allowed at 8 a.m. according to Gene Johnson’s article Washington pot shop customers cheer first legal sale. The start of the legal pot sales in Washington was a major step in a 20 month long process. Washington and Colorado voted to legalized marijuana back into November 2012 for adults over 21 and to create state licensing systems for growing, distributing and taxing pot. Sales of pot in Colorado began on Jan. 1. Washington issued its first 24 licenses Monday with six opening Tuesday, according to the Associate Press, and some opening later in the week or next and others opening in a month or more. While Colorado already had regulated medical marijuana system making its transition smoother to recreational selling, Washington’s unregulated medical marijuana system made for a bumpier transition since officials had to start from scratch to write regulations that made sense. Unfortunately, because growers and sellers were scrambling to prepare, product shortages caused the prices for pot to be higher as there are only 100 approved licensed growers in the state out of 2,600 applicants and only a dozen ready for harvest by early this month. The regulations included protocol for testing marijuana and requirements for child resistant packaging. Officials also had to determine how much criminal history was too much to get a license and what type of security systems pot shops and growers must have, the article reports. Washington law allows the sale of up to one ounce of dried marijuana, 16 ounces of pot-infused solids, 72 ounces of pot-infused liquids or 7 grams of concentrated marijuana, like hashish, to adults over 21.