It's been a long, hurdle-ridden road for legal marijuana sales in Washington State. But the wait is officially over - legal recreational marijuana sales start today in Washington State. There are 24 stores that have a license as of yesterday. How many of those are opening today is yet to be seen, however, as many as 24 stores could be making their first legal sale as early as today. There is not enough legal marijuana to go around, so expect shortages and high prices. Below is a press release sent to me yesterday from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, along with a graphic of all of the stores that got their license yesterday:
In the wake of glowing reports coming out of Colorado six months after the state began retail sales of marijuana, Washington state's Liquor Control Board plans to issue up to 20 licenses to retail businesses today, and stores can open as early as Tuesday, though few stores seem likely to be ready by that time, and since growers only received their licenses in March, supply will be limited at first.
"I'm sure the first day will be a disappointment to some consumers," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), 34-year police veteran and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs. "But this isn't meant to be a party. Any delays are reflective of the fact that Washington state is taking the responsibility to regulate and control this new industry seriously."
"Washingtonians know that, as in Colorado, governments both foreign and domestic will be watching to see how legalization progresses in the state," said Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper (Ret.), a LEAP speaker and advisory board member. "And I imagine that, as in Colorado, lower crime rates, increased tax revenue, thousands of new jobs and continuing public support will indicate legalizing and regulating marijuana is one of the simplest ways to improve not just our criminal justice system, but our state governments generally."
Nearly 7,000 businesses applied for the 334 licenses authorized by I-502, the voter initiative which legalized marijuana in the state. Those licenses are strictly controlled and come with a host of regulations, including prohibitions on retailers being within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and other locations likely to be frequented by children. So far, no manufacturer has passed the stringent requirements surrounding marijuana-infused edibles.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a group of law enforcement officials who, after fighting on the front lines of the war on drugs, now advocate for its end.