Washington Plans to Open Marijuana Retail Stores
Jar of cannabis from Evergreen Buds and Glass Dispensary in Seattle, Washington.
Photo by Taylor Kent
On July 7 the state of Washington will open its first round of marijuana retail locations although consumers will not be able to actually purchase any goods until the next day. The first day will be reserved for recording inventory, stocking products and entering information into the seed-to-sale tracking program. If all goes as planned in the first 24-hour period, the stores will then open to the public.
Beginning July 8, consumers 21 and older will be able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana or less at a time with prices initially ranging from $20 to $25 per gram. Retailers anticipate prices will eventually lower to around $10 to $15 per gram over time. For now, wholesale prices will remain high with the cost of a pound ranging anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for retailers who predict they will sell out of product within the first few days.
According to the Washington State Liquor Control Board, only 20 or so retailers throughout the state will initially receive licenses to legally sell marijuana. Due to a few legal and licensing complications, it’s been reported that edibles will not be available to the public. At least, not in the beginning. Before retailers can begin manufacturing edibles, kitchens must be able to pass food safety inspections conducted by the Agricultural Department.
In an interview with MyNorthwest.com Mikael Carpenter, a spokesman for the Liquor Control Board, explained that “If [a] business is purchasing extract and infusing it into a brownie or something of that nature, [they] can’t even buy any product to get started yet. There’s nobody who is authorized to create edible products at this time in Washington state.”
When marijuana-infused foods are released onto the market, Gov. Jay Inslee has enforced labeling restrictions that require state approval for all edible packaging and will ban the use of toys and cartoon images on packages across the board. There will also be new regulations implemented this fall that will require facilities that make edibles to adhere to the same standards as restaurants such as bi-yearly inspections, adequate hand-washing and refrigeration.
Washington intends to gradually provide licenses for more than 300 marijuana retailers statewide and eventually introduce edibles once cannabis manufacturers can meet state requirements.