Washington: State-Licensed Retail Cannabis Sales Begin

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 8, 2014

    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 responses to “Washington: State-Licensed Retail Cannabis Sales Begin”

    1. Evening Bud says:

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

    2. PbN2Au says:

      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. dk says:

      “… 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. Cup says:

      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. Cat Cassie says:

      So happy for you Washington. Everyone else just try and hang in there. Your day of freedom will come.

    6. Cup says:


      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.]

    7. Dave Evans says:

      [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.]

    8. Dave Evans says:

      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.]

    9. Dave Evans says:

      *completely opposite* our bullshit marijuana laws.

    10. Marveen1 says:

      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.