First 24 recreational marijuana licenses issued by Liquor Control Board. Where the stores are: http://t.co/CGWFgj1ADk
1. The Washington State Liquor Board, which regulates and administers the state’s new marijuana system, issued 24 retail licenses on Monday morning, which allowed shops to open on Tuesday.
2. But of those shops, only four were ready to open by Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
Shops opened in Bellingham, Seattle, Spokane, and Prosser on Tuesday. Some retailers planned to open later in the week, while others said it could be a month or more before they would have marijuana to sell.
3. Still, there were limited weed supplies, since licensed growers did not have time to produce a full crop.
4. But on Tuesday morning people were ready to buy weed.
5. And there were long lines — up to three hours in many places.
7. The lines were especially impressive, considering consuming marijuana at home has been completely legal in the state since voters passed Initiative 502 in 2012.
Washington approved marijuana legalization at the same time that Colorado did in 2012, where stores opened on Jan. 1.
While Colorado allowed medical marijuana shops to convert to retail, Washington gave medical marijuana dispensary operators no advantage in the application process.
9. It was still a historic event, since it has not been legal to buy or sell marijuana in Washington for recreational purposes until now.
“Historic day in the Evergreen State!! Proud to be a Washingtonian,” reads the caption for this photo.
10. Not everyone wanted to wait in a long line just to buy weed for themselves on the first day of legalization, though:
11. The lines were also impressive considering black-market marijuana may still be cheaper than legal weed, due to limited supply and high state taxes — 25% on every retail store purchase.
12. Bellingham’s Top Shelf Cannabis sold a gram of marijuana for about $13, which was actually cheaper than predicted.
13. Others also noted the price was around $13 per gram:
15. But some shops sold weed for $20 per gram:
16. And another said a gram would cost as much as $27:
17. At 8 a.m. Tuesday, Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham was the first store in the state to open and sell weed to this happy guy:
18. James Lathrop, the owner of Cannabis City, the only pot shop to open Tuesday in Seattle, held giant scissors to cut the ribbon for the store’s opening and said it was time to “free the weed.”
19. A lot of people, though, were pretty shocked there was only one pot shop in Seattle:
20. The shop opened shortly after “high noon” Tuesday.
21. Deborah Greene, 65, waited overnight at Cannabis City to be the first to buy weed.
22. Seattle’s City Attorney Pete Holmes even took part in the history-making day, saying, “Today marijuana sales became legal and I’m here to personally exercise that new freedom.”
23. Security personnel were also present at stores to check customers’ IDs. Customers must be 21 or older to buy marijuana.
Washington’s law allows customers over 21 to buy up to an ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused edibles, 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids, or 7 grams of concentrated marijuana, like hashish.