It’s was historic day for Washington – as of July 8, 2014, once again, it joined Colorado in the history books. A couple of years ago the two states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, on the same day. Although Washington officially opened its door to retail cannabis somewhat later than Colorado, the two states will now forever be known as “the first two“. Since the recreational marijuana industry evolved, Washington has started picking up what Colorado has been putting down and the two will now continue to set a framework for legislators and activists.
Retail marijuana road map from Colorado
Possession of marijuana in small amounts for personal use at home has been legal in Washington since 2012. The first retail licences have been issued on Monday, with a 24-hour quarantine period for last-minute inspections. Let us remind you that medical marijuana is still widely available and costs less than the one available from retail stores. State regulators have accepted 334 marijuana retail applications, yet only about 20 of them were expected to open yesterday. According to Washington State Liquor Control Board, many applicants failed final inspection. Besides that, many didn’t have their crops ready. Cannabis city – the first legal recreational cannabis retailer in Evergreen State had their supplies ready for the day. In the upcoming months, the experiment now taking place in Washington will be carefully monitored. The state has a lot to learn from Colorado experience – such as regulating the production of marijuana edibles, something Colorado had many problems with, including several deaths. Last month Washington issued new and strict rules on labelling requirements ensuring products don’t appeal to children and demanding that production companies should clearly identify their marijuana content. However, it still hasn’t licensed the production of edibles such as marijuana cookies.
Are there flaws in Colorado’s model?
It is only natural that as more states start to experiment with legalization, rules and regulations will evolve to suit local conditions. Kevin Sabet of a group called Smart Approaches to Marijuana has pointed out that no matter what model each state accepts, legalization is about making money. Sabet has also criticised Colorado’s efforts: “There have been numerous tragedies in Colorado from edibles, but there are still as many edibles on the shelf now as there were on opening day. Why didn’t they learn? The answer is the special interests.”
Opening day sale
Recreational marijuana customers are allowed to buy up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana. They are also allowed to buy 16 ounces of marijuana infused product in solid form and 72 ounces in beverage form. However, the edibles are not expected to be available in stores yet, as no one has been cleared to operate a cannabis kitchen – yet.
Customers can expect to pay $12 to $25 per gram, depending on the quality and of course, the strain. Licencees have agreed to limit the first day sales, because of the risk of running out of weed. On first day of business, marijuana shortages are expected in Washington state.