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A look at legal pot as Washington stores prepare

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm •  Published: July 7, 2014
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SEATTLE (AP) — 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:

Q: When can I buy legal weed?

A: 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. Tuesday 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.

Q: Where can I buy?

A: Washington issued its first 24 licenses Monday to shops to sell recreational marijuana, 14 stores in western Washington and 10 in eastern Washington — but only about six stores were planning to open Tuesday. They include two shops in Bellingham, one in Seattle, one in Prosser, one in Kelso and one in Spokane. Some said they planned to open later this week or next, while others said they weren't sure when they'd obtain marijuana to sell. Liquor Control Board list: https://lcb.app.box.com/retail-7-7.

Q: Will it be expensive?

A: 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.

Q: How much can I buy?

A: State law allows the sale of up to an ounce of dried marijuana, 16 ounces of pot-infused solids, 72 ounces of pot-infused liquids or 7 grams of concentrated marijuana, like hashish, to adults over 21, whether you're a Washington resident or not. But there isn't expected to be any infused food or drink available right away: As of last week, the Liquor Control Board had not issued any licenses to processors of those products, or approved any edibles for sale. Some stores are talking about limiting customers to one 2-gram package apiece to make sure there's enough for everyone to buy some.

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