National News

Legal marijuana goes on sale in Washington

Bob Leeds, owner of Sea of Green Farms, right, has a laugh with farm director Phil Tobias, as they load packets of recreational marijuana into boxes, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Seattle, for delivery to a store in Bellingham, Wash. It was the first delivery for the company since retail licenses were issued by the state on Monday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) -
Bob Leeds, owner of Sea of Green Farms, right, has a laugh with farm director Phil Tobias, as they load packets of recreational marijuana into boxes, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Seattle, for delivery to a store in Bellingham, Wash. It was the first delivery for the company since retail licenses were issued by the state on Monday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
— image credit:

By Gene Johnson, The Associated Press

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Washington became the second state Tuesday to allow people to buy marijuana legally in the U.S. without a doctor's note.

People bought pot at 8 a.m. at Bellingham's Top Shelf Cannabis, one of two stores in the city north of Seattle that started selling marijuana as soon as it was allowed under state regulations.

The start of legal pot sales in Washington Tuesday marks a major step that's been 20 months in the making. Washington and Colorado stunned much of America by voting in November 2012 to legalize marijuana for adults over 21, and to create state-licensed systems for growing, selling and taxing the pot. Sales began in Colorado on Jan. 1.

Washington issued its first 24 retail licenses Monday, though not all businesses planned to start selling weed on Tuesday. It's been a bit of a bumpy ride in Washington state, with product shortages expected as growers and sellers scramble to get ready.

Pot prices were expected to reach $25 a gram or higher on the first day of sales — twice what people pay in the state's unregulated medical marijuana dispensaries. That was largely due to the short supply of legally produced pot in the state. Although more than 2,600 people applied to become licensed growers, fewer than 100 have been approved — and only about a dozen were ready to harvest by early this month.

Colorado already had a regulated medical marijuana system, making for a smoother transition when it allowed those dispensaries to start selling to recreational pot shops on Jan. 1.

Washington's medical system is unregulated, so officials here were starting from scratch as they immersed themselves in the pot world and tried to come up with regulations that made sense for the industry and the public. The regulations include protocols for testing marijuana, what types of edibles should be allowed, requirements for child-resistant packaging, how much criminal history is too much to get a license, and what types of security systems pot shops and growers should have.

Washington state law allows the sale of up to an ounce (28 grams) of dried marijuana, 16 ounces (453 grams) of pot-infused solids, 72 ounces (2,040 grams) of pot-infused liquids or 7 grams of concentrated marijuana, like hashish, to adults over 21.

___

Follow Johnson at https://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Stronger one kind act at a time
 
Other alleged victim will be recalled to Bobbitt hearing
 
Emission limits set for B.C. LNG producers
Operation Popcorn thanks transplant staff
 
MISSING: 22-year-old Bryan Seaton from Castlegar
 
Wood first a priority of new forest strategy
Second vote to sell Rutland Centennial Park to Kelowna passes easily
 
High water remains a concern throughout North Okanagan
 
Dutch Valley residents demand flood protection

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 17 edition online now. Browse the archives.