Washington: State-Licensed Retail Cannabis Sales Begin

Washington’s first state-licensed retail cannabis operators opened for business this morning.

The state’s Liquor Control Board issued 24 marijuana retailer licenses late last week. (Under state regulations, the Board may issue up to 334 licenses to retail facilities.) Of those, six opened for business today – the first day legal sales were permissible – according to the Associated Press.

Retail sale prices for a gram of cannabis ranged from $10 to $20 per gram on opening day, according to news reports. Prices are expected to fall once additional retailers open and once existing retailers obtain additional supplies of the product.

Similar state-licensed stores have been operating in Colorado since January 1.

Voters in both states in 2012 approved ballot measures regulating the commercial production, retail sale, and adult use of cannabis.

Voters in Alaska and Oregon will vote on similar measures this November.

Said NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri: “Every day in America, hundreds of thousands of people engage in transactions involving the recreational use of marijuana, but only in two states – Colorado and Washington – do these transactions take place in a safe, above-ground, state-licensed facility where consumers must show proof of age, the product sold is of known quality, and the sales are taxed in a manner to help fund necessary state and local services.”

17 thoughts

  1. Congratulations Washington! Good luck to everyone out there; hope things go okay. Freedom on the march!

  2. I’m in Washington!!! Woohoo!!! Oh, nevermind… I work for a Federally Funded corporation… You can’t win them all but at least this is a major step in the right direction!!! 😀

  3. “… the product sold is of known quality”
    I know the weed in the legal states is expensive at this point, but the ‘known quality’ aspect is encouraging. I’ve seen some pretty crappy weed in my time. Stems, seeds, old weed that smelled bad, underweight bags, bags that had little to no potency, etc, etc, etc. I’ve seen people get violent after getting ripped off. I’ve even heard stories about idiots who called the cops after getting ripped off. Snicker, snicker, snicker. Oh, I’m not snickering about someone getting ripped off. It’s just that…, well you know.

  4. Marijuana is not legal if you can’t grow it. In Washington state you can still be arrested for growing instead of buying expensive pot, with a sin tax, from a dispensery. If taxation were according to health risk, alcohol and many prescription drugs should be taxed highly. Instead, organizations like NORML cheer when the safest drug (marijuana) is still restricted more than alcohol. In my opinion, anywhere that alcohol can be sold marijuana should be allowed too.

    [Editor’s note: “Marijuana is not legal if you can’t grow it.”

    Is this really true?

    Can you make and sell distilled liquor? How about manufacture guns? Those products are legal…but citizens can’t lawfully produce either.

    NORML champions the end of cannabis prohibition, not complaining about YOUR state’s over regulation and taxation. Want more access to cannabis at lower prices? Start lobbying YOUR elected officials and stop complaining in comment sections on webpages (which change no laws or policies).]

  5. Editor,

    Did I say anything about individuals growing and selling marijuana? I only said growing. In my opinion, if a state does not allow an individual to grow a plant for personal use the prohibition in that state continues and marijuana is still not legal. Also, your comparison of producing alcohol and making guns is not accurate. Both of those actions can be dangerous because guns shoot projectiles that can kill and ethanol can be flammable. They do not compare to personal marijuana production. What risk is there in planting a seed, letting it grow and flower, harvesting it, and hanging the buds on lines to dry? None. Zero.

    What I’m trying to do is wake people up to the fact that partial decriminilization is not legalization. Anything short of true legalization is simply unacceptable. NORML is a great organization in many ways, but I wish you would take a bolder stance against initiatived and laws that would still leave innocent people vunerable to arrest and imprisonment for risk free harmless activities.

    [Editor’s note: “What risk is there in planting a seed, letting it grow and flower, harvesting it, and hanging the buds on lines to dry? None. Zero.”

    Incorrect as you’re apparently not figuring at all into your calculus the POLITICAL risks of insisting that cannabis consumers be able to cultivate their own cannabis.

    When America’s likely voters are asked whether or not they support legalization with or without allowing home cultivation, in most every poll taken they reject legalization.

    Reform organizations seek to end cannabis prohibition/replacing the failed policy with tax-n-regulate and helping the victims of the current cannabis prohibition laws, they’re not going to perpetuate cannabis prohibition because some who favor cannabis reforms insist that without the ability to grow cannabis at home, that cannabis legalization has not actually occurred.

    In policy making, perfect is the enemy of the good.

    Cannabis legalization including home cultivation should happen everywhere it is supported by citizens, but where it is not, cannabis legalization is still going to move forward sans home cultivation.

    Citizens in the states where home cultivation is not politically viable at this time who are overtly concerned with the need or want to produce their own cannabis should organize politically and educate the general public, media and public policy makers on the benefits of home cultivating cannabis.

    NORML, ACLU, DPA, MPP, etc…will continue to concentrate on the core missions of ending cannabis prohibition and helping victims of the bad policies—not sacrificing now popular overall reforms in favor of currently unpopular home cultivation allowances.]

  6. [Editor’s note: “Marijuana is not legal if you can’t grow it.” Is this really true?]

    Yes, if it is anything other than a fine for having over a certain amount of adult plants, then it is over-reach. Having or growing marijuana is not a crime. It isn’t a criminal activity. Running a Meth Lab is. If you guys at normal can’t tell the difference anymore with all the lawyering you do, we’re now lost.

    [Editor’s note: “Having or growing marijuana is not a crime. It isn’t a criminal activity.”

    Self evidently it is if the criminal law says it is…just like running a Meth lab too is illegal, because it is still illegal.

    There is a distinction being lost here by some between the law being what it actually is and what they ideally believe it should be.

    Cannabis commerce should be legal. Where it is, there are rules and regulations that limit the commerce, but that does not mean that legalization (ie, the ending of arrests and replacing with tax-n-regulae system) has not occurred.]

  7. And yes you can make your own liquor, guns and bullets; you just can’t sell them without a license. See those laws actually *respect* our constitution, completely our bullshit marijuana laws:


    [Editor’s note: All are legal commerce without sale…but only because federal law allows for such as no one possess a ‘right’ to make liquor or ammunition.

    Cannabis commerce, as it becomes more and politically acceptable, will likely enjoy no greater or less regulations than alcohol-related products. However, delaying ending cannabis prohibition and creating a retail market for cannabis in absence of a majority of society yet favoring home cultivation is both foolish and politically self-destructive.]

  8. Cup, distillation is legal under certain narrow circumstances, as is firearm mfr. (One key is not selling the result.)

    You should be able to legally grow for your own use.

  9. Norml, so you’re Okay with a law still being validate despite it requiring people to lie under oath just to maintain the fabrication?

    Laws that are just scams are not laws and not actually legal in this country.

  10. While I applaud all progress forward, home cultivation should be our end game focus. Why should I trust some big corporation or government grown herb? Why should they have a corner on the cannabis market? Cannabis legalization is about personal freedom and fairness, and without home cultivation, we don’t have either. Love you Norml, but let’s not gloss over the fight. Washington is not a win just yet.

    [Editor’s note: Home cultivation as the end game? What about the arrests, prosecutions, incarcerations, forfeitures, loss of custody. Are those not infinitely more important (and moral) to first address before a secondary issue like home grow?

    You consider retail-only access ‘not legalization’?

    Probably not if you were currently one of the hundreds of thousands of cannabis consumers/producers currently caught up in a cannabis prohibition law enforcement nightmare.

    No cannabis law circa 1996 would have been reformed with home cultivation as the end game goal…reformer’s would still be stuck in ‘ideal’ gear, rather than moving the ship of reform forward with the velocity seen today.

    For those who value either low cost cannabis or just loathe retailers, in states that legalize cannabis with only retail access (because the overall reforms will fail if home grow cultivation is included…as was the likely case in WA in 2012), have at focusing your time, energy and resources working on home cultivation as a public policy reform.

    However, reform groups will principally continue to stay focused on ending cannabis prohibition where ever possible, and passing home cultivation measures when supported by citizens via polling/focus groups, and jettisoning the reforms when not supported by local voters to achieve a majority vote to end cannabis prohibition/allow retail access.]

  11. Norml, the laws on the books are there to *restrict* the authority of the government, not enhance the rights of government at the price of the citizens rights. The USA can only be and remain strong if we support each other. Marijuana policy as it stands is Un-American. You’re guilty of someone else’s crimes, you know those crazy Mexican’s and darkies looking rape little color girls?

    Our current policy on marijuana violates our constitution is about eight different ways, the commerce clause be damned. It in itself is a retarded the law the basically says all the powers restricted from congress are now given to congress as long as you word it just right. Sorry, but regardless of what Congress writes, they have to strike down a couple of other amendments for that to be fully legal.

    The results of Gonzales v. Raich are not rational. It isn’t about what I wish to be the case, but you can clearly see how the judges used broken logic on a Constitutional Case just to keep screwing over marijuana users.

    If the Fed’s can’t ban guns from schools using the Commerce Clause, they can’t ban marijuana using the same logic.

    [Editor’s note: Your Libertarianism aside, re-arguing long decided Supreme Court cases is moot. Lopez has not been applied to ‘drug crimes’ by either lawyers or judges, and Gonzales vs. Bush is a poorly conceived court decision that is made even more moot by trying to apply to today’s cannabis policies as when the case came down in 2005—there were approx. 300 so-called medical cannabis dispensaries (and no adult use retail outlets), mainly in the LA and SF Areas.

    Today, with Gonzales vs. Bush still the ‘controlling’ case, there are approx. 3,500 medical and adult retail outlets and licensed producers in over a dozen states.

    So what did reformer’s actually lose in ‘Gonzales vs. Bush’?]

  12. People should be allowed to grow a few outdoor plants in Washington state, if only for the aesthetic beauty of the plant if nothing else.The latitude and the deluge of fronts that come off the Pacific, would make it impossible for most strains to even finish flowering,so the commercial industry should not even see it as a threat.It would just be nice seeing it grow among the ferns in the forest in a natural setting,a symbolic victory of freedom.

  13. I was lucky to go to a school called Goddard College in Plainfield VT from 1970-1971. The school was a progressive school; vegetarian co-ed dorms; art music poetry gardening etc.
    One aspect was communal living and gardening health food “Co-ops”. “Co-ops are “warehouses where people bring their crop harvests to sell(or give). This is the way MJ/MMJ could be grown/shared: “State Licensed MJ Grow Co-ops;(grown by the People; not Co.’s for profit. ps
    Commercial MJ might be a better quality tho!@

  14. I am at a loss , when I read the destruction from allowing cannabis to be consumed recreationaly……..I mean before cannabis was allowed recreationaly im sure it was still bought on the black market at a rediculious price, but now that you can come to the light and buy…..it’s now a problem because you cant grow it?

    It’s like my great grandma said ….”certain people just need the mile because they only got an inch”…..being completly happy wont ever happen ,even if their allowed full cultavation , because in order for that to happen the government would need its share for regulation fees and you guys would bitch about that……

    Norml’s purpose was never intended to give any of us the “GREEEN” light to be a consumer at all, they just were the first voice of reasoning in helping the law makers understand that things need to be handled differently…

    Sure the laws should be …however will eventualy be in the direction growers and consumers alike want them, but thowing up the tounge lashings from either side is depressing to read…..

    None of us are the law makers, but we all want things to change , and the only way to do this is ” if you cant beat them join them” routine………

    be happy your able to go pay the ” hi Price ” because there is thousands of other inocent people loosing out every day because it is illegal to use or posses or grow……

    “Dont put your body before your feet or your gonna fall on your face………”

    as always
    thanks for reading

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