Many people waited in line outside dispensaries in order to make history, to be one of the first people to buy marijuana legally in the state of Washington, as it sees the first day of legalized recreational marijuana. Only a handful of shops opened their doors and the supply was limited. Licenses were handed out late and growers didn’t have time to bring a mature crop to market. Still, buyers were enthusiastic as they made their way into dispensaries. According to the New York Times, few revelers cited getting high as the reason for their purchase. Many said that if that were the only reason a store wasn’t necessary. Legally you can purchase up to an ounce in Washington State. South Seattle’s Cannabis City, a large 620-square-foot dispensary, was running a special of two grams for $40. Since 2012, possessing small amounts of marijuana and using it in one’s home has been legal in the Evergreen State, thanks to voters passing Initiative 502. But even previous to this law enforcement officials had decided busting people for small amounts of marijuana didn’t seem worth it. The previous Monday, July 7th, the state issued the first licenses, though last minute inspections by officials required dispensaries to endure a 24 hour quarantine period.
Revelers did say that non-legal street level marijuana or even medical marijuana is far cheaper than the legal recreational variety, especially due to the 25% sales tax on marijuana in the state of Washington. There are also those who don’t feel comfortable with the security cameras that dispensaries have in place. Delivery services are also available in Washington State. Overall, there was a sense of nuance and novelty settling across the Evergreen State on Tuesday; there were those who went to dispensaries to be a part of history, others just for the novelty and still others who wanted their statements to be heard. Donna Dunlop came to buy marijuana, but also to honor her brother David Dunlop whose picture she carried with a message “Thank you Washington.” David served time in jail in the 1990’s for marijuana possession, which gave him health problems that in turn took his life.
25 retail establishments were issued licenses across the state by the Washington State Liquor Control Board who also administers the recreational marijuana program in the state. The board was overwhelmed by applicants wanting to go in the pot business and so a lottery was determined among businesses ready to go and open up shop. The marijuana is tested at one of two lab sights in the state, and is bar coded to create uniformity in the state’s recreational marijuana industry. Brian Smith, a spokesman for the liquor control board, said he didn’t know how many shops had opened. The media had the number as low as four.
All in all, a truly welcoming news coming from Washington DC as this has been in the pipeline for a long time even though marijuana’s health benefits were well known but none of the presidents had the balls to make this official despite being in the White House, the most powerful building on the planet as the edibles were seen as harmful but in fact is being used for medicinal purposes for a long time despite which its reputation has been dubious as harming children’s lives.