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Cannabis Shortage in Seattle

Caution tape covers the door of a dispensary in Seattle, WA due to a cannabis shortage after recreational legalization.


Cannabis Shortage in Seattle

Although there are 635,000 residents in Washington’s biggest city, the state only allowed for one retail marijuana space to open in Seattle and now it’s completely out of pot. Many predicted that Washington dispensaries would have issues with meeting the demands of their cannabis-consuming residents, but very few imagined it would only take three days for it to happen.

Cannabis City, ran by owner James Lathrop, is the lone dispensary that was licensed in Seattle and ready to begin selling marijuana on the first day it was legal in the state. Between the opening date on July 8 and Thursday July 10, the dispensary sold out of its entire stock of 11 pounds or 4,990 grams of marijuana despite its 2-grams-per-person policy.

Other dispensaries statewide are also expected to run into the same problems as Cannabis City with shortages planned to last for a few months until things get straightened out. As it stands, there were only five dispensaries that actually opened their doors on July 8 due to issues with receiving any marijuana to sell.

Reports reveal that the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) licensed less than 80 growers within the entire state despite receiving over 2,500 applications. And when it came to getting the goods lab-tested as required by law, only a fragment of the growers’ supply had gone through the meticulous process in time for the legal opening of retail locations.

Seattle Lawyer Kurt Boehl of KB Law Group PLLC shed some light on the situation.

“Hundreds of growers are still waiting for initial contact from the state to even begin the licensing process,” he says.

According to Reuters, the WSLCB didn’t begin issuing licenses to growers until March. Because it takes months to harvest marijuana, it was too late for growers to even attempt to meet the July deadline in enough time for retailers to have it on the shelves for sale.

Edibles have also been nixed from the equation, at least in these beginning stages, because there were no manufacturers and processors licensed to produce infused goods. Once manufacturing applicants are approved and edibles are introduced to Washington residents, strict regulations will limit the type of edibles dispensaries can sell and how they must be packaged.

“The real experience will likely be in late fall and early winter, when premium genetics are available and unique extractions and infused products fill the shelves,” Boehl says. “As more producers and processors are licensed, we’ll start to see some incredibly exciting and innovative products hit the shelves, but that won’t be for 2-6 months.”

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