Washington State Celebrates First Day Of Legal Marijuana Sales

Washington began selling legal weed on Tuesday, making history as the second U.S. state to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

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.

Line is growing -- maybe 100-150 people down in Sodo waiting to buy pot from Cannabis City. #WApot

— Evan Bush (@evanbush)

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.

People reading the menus at Spokane Green Leaf #marijuana #spokane #washington

— Young Kwak (@youngkwak)

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:

Damien Tillman is considering paying someone to get to front of Cannabis City line.

— Bob Young (@PotReporter)

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.

Price of pot at Cannabis City is $40 for 2 grams, tax included. Owner says grower cut a deal initially, price could rise down the road.

— Evan Bush (@evanbush)

12. Bellingham’s Top Shelf Cannabis sold a gram of marijuana for about $13, which was actually cheaper than predicted.

OG's Pearl: runs $26.50 after tax for 2 grams #WApot

— Andy Mannix (@AndrewMannix)

13. Others also noted the price was around $13 per gram:

#wapot #1502 seems trend is going with 2 gram baggies. Prices are around 25 -27 so far. Anyone one seeing worse prices per gram #marijuana?

— CannaPricer (@cannapricer)

15. But some shops sold weed for $20 per gram:

Here's what one of the first customers bought: a 2 gram package of 'Sweet Lafayette' marijuana. cost $40

— Nafeesa Karim (@nafeesakarim)

16. And another said a gram would cost as much as $27:

"She said the first pot delivery will come early Tuesday. Two-gram bags will sell for $54 each. " http://t.co/ssAK3gGggt via @usatoday

— Matt South (@xDOWNSOUTHx)

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:

First bag of pot sold. This guy is officially a celebrity #WApot

— Andy Mannix (@AndrewMannix)

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.”

Cannabis City owner James Lathrop says it's time to "free the weed." #WApot

— Evan Bush (@evanbush)

19. A lot of people, though, were pretty shocked there was only one pot shop in Seattle:

There's one recreational pot shop for 700,000 people. Smokeless in #Seattle: http://t.co/gLFycHGgfA #WApot

— Laura Keeney (@LauraKeeney)

20. The shop opened shortly after “high noon” Tuesday.

They just let the first purchaser into the door at Cannabis City. It was 65-year-old Deborah Greene. #wapot

— Evan Bush (@evanbush)

21. Deborah Greene, 65, waited overnight at Cannabis City to be the first to buy weed.

Selfie with Deb Greene, grandma who waited overnight (safely) to be 1st to buy legal pot in Seattle.

— Bob Young (@PotReporter)

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.”

Holmes bought two 2 gram bags. He's keeping 1 bag for "posterity" & 1 for "personal enjoyment when it's appropriate."

— Evan Bush (@evanbush)

23. Security personnel were also present at stores to check customers’ IDs. Customers must be 21 or older to buy marijuana.

Surprise surprise: lone security guard who has been here since 7 a.m. says absolutely no problems. #wapot

— Mike Hager (@MikePHager)

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.

26. Pot shops weren’t the only ones trying to make money off legalization:

Free breakfast @9 from @leafly truck in South Lake Union -- not that kind of food -- with Cannabis 101 brochure. http://t.co/h7aLYA0fN3.wa

— Bob Young (@PotReporter)

27. And people seemed pretty happy to take advantage of the deals:

.@Leafly thanks for the AMAZING free lunch at The People's Burger! Great app, love your site!! #retailweed #cannabiscity #WApot #hallelujah

— D. Buttersnaps (@cocksailor)

29. Although some businesses just accidentally benefited from legalization:

If you were wondering, the Subway next door is making a killing with folks in line for #WApot at Cannabis City.

— Evan Bush (@evanbush)

30. All in all, many people were happy about the historic day:

Got a joint in your pocket? Relax, it's legal. #itslegal #WApot

— Mirth Provisions (@MirthProvisions)

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Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.
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