Today is the big day in Washington. According to the Washington State Liquor Control Board, 24 applicants have been awarded recreational marijuana retail licenses and can begin legally selling cannabis to adults over the age of 21.
But, there are some concerns regarding the snail’s pace rollout of the policy. The big question on everyone’s mind is whether or not Washington will have the supply to meet the demands of cannabis consumers. Although by law, people are allowed to purchase up to an ounce, New York Times reports that some retailers anticipate receiving only about two pounds of pot and intend on rationing it out to their customers by the gram.
Part of this is due to the lack of available licensed growers. Although more than 2,000 people applied to become growers, less than 100 applicants were actually approved and only small percentage of them were ready to harvest in time with the new law. Consequently, prices are expected to be exorbitant with ounces projected to cost at least $400.
There are still many licensees that are still waiting for their chance to begin doing business in their retail locations but have been met with regulations that have prevented that them from opening shop. Issues with financing, location and inspection questions have reduced the amount of dispensaries available throughout the state significantly.
Kurt Boehl of KB Law Group said “It’s a mess. People are still scrambling to get their paperwork in.”
Reports reveal that of the 24 licensees, only about six plan to open their retail locations today in Bellingham, Seattle, Spokane, Prosser and Kelso. There are some dispensaries that intend to open later this week while others estimate it will be a month or more before they are ready to serve the public. Officials plan to eventually open as many as 300 dispensaries statewide.
As the second state to legalize recreational cannabis, Washington will now join Denver as one of the most-watched places in the country when it comes to marijuana legalization. Other states will undoubtedly be tuned in to see exactly how officials and lawmakers deal with the inevitable shortage of pot and bothersome backlog of licenses in a way that is efficient and effective.
For now, all eyes will be on Washington to see whether they sink of swim as they navigate this new terrain of recreational cannabis.
Are you planning on buying retail cannabis in Washington? Tell us in the comments below.