A look at legal pot with Washington stores set to open

first_imgSEATTLE — Washington state’s first recreational marijuana stores open for business this week, more than a year and a half after voters decided to legalize, tax and regulate pot. Some questions and answers about the industry:When can I buy legal weed?The state’s Liquor Control Board issued the first two dozen retail marijuana licenses in the wee hours Monday, and stores can open at 8 a.m. today if they’re ready. Once stores get their licenses, they can place their orders with the state’s licensed growers, who have to wait 24 hours before they ship the marijuana. It wasn’t immediately clear how many stores planned to open today. Some, such as Bellingham’s Top Shelf Cannabis, said it would be open at 8 a.m.; others, such as Seattle’s Cannabis City, planned to open at noon.Where can I buy?Washington issued its first 24 licenses Monday to shops to sell recreational marijuana: 14 in Western Washington, 10 in Eastern Washington. Spokane has three stores. Vancouver, Tacoma and Bellingham each have two. Seattle and the other cities on the list have one each. A couple of small towns have a store, including Bingen, population 725, in the Columbia River Gorge, and Winthrop, population 400, in the north Cascades. Liquor Control Board list: https://lcb.app.box.com/retail-7-7.Will it be expensive?Yes. Although some stores say they plan to sell some of their supply for as little as $10 or $12 a gram — comparable to what it sells for at the state’s unregulated medical dispensaries — others expect it to go for $25 or more. The issue is mainly supply. Relatively few growers have harvested — the pot being offered for sale in the coming days was grown by only about a dozen producers statewide. According to the two labs certified to check the pot for mold and other impurities, the samples they had tested by last Thursday represent a maximum initial statewide harvest of about 440 pounds.Some growers are asking $4,000 per pound wholesale. The marijuana is heavily taxed — 25 percent at wholesale and 25 percent at retail, at least, not to mention additional sales taxes. Officials don’t expect prices to stabilize until after many more growers begin harvesting.last_img

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