5 observations: Legal pot sales underway in Washington

Jar of pot

Pot shops in Washington opened their doors for the first time to recreational users on Tuesday, and the mood was festive.

Marijuana also is legal for recreational use in Colorado, where one of our contributors traveled to get a first-hand account.

Five observations from the first day:

1. Only a few shops were open
Only a handful of pot shops opened on the first day because the state is slowly rolling out licenses. As of Wednesday, more than 2,000 applications were pending. Most authorized growers also haven’t been licensed long enough to grow for a full cycle. Customers were often limited to a gram or two.

2. Taxes, demand drive up costs
With only a handful of competitors and a 25% tax on recreational pot, medical marijuana, which is legal in Washington, is cheaper and more plentiful. Two grams of pot at Cannabis City in Seattle costs $50. By contrast, medical cannabis dispensaries sell grams for as low as $10 in Washington.

3. Seattle city attorney buys weed
Seattle city attorney Peter Holmes bought four grams of OG Pearl and said he plans to smoke half of it “at some point when it’s appropriate” and keep the other half for “posterity.” He half-joked that he hoped the DEA didn’t mind. “The most important take away here is that today marijuana sales became legal and I’m here to personally exercise myself to this new freedom,” said Holmes.

4. Find a private place to smoke
Washington’s anti-smoking laws are among the strictest in the nation, and that means no lighting up in pot shops, in public or even some apartment buildings and hotels. Public consumption of edibles also is illegal. State lawmakers are considering legalizing private clubs for pot smokers.

5. Michigan residents can buy too
You don’t have to be a Washington resident to buy from a licensed dispensary. If you’re 21 or older and have a valid ID, you can buy up to an ounce of dried marijuana, up to 7 grams of hash or a pound of pot-infused treats.


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