Wash.'s Retail Pot Stores Set to Open: 5 Legal Reminders

By Brett Snider, Esq. on July 07, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Washington state's first "legal" recreational pot stores are set to open Tuesday, after months of implementing the state's new marijuana rules.

Initiative 502 went into effect in December 2012, and in the past year and a half, the Washington Liquor Control Board has been reviewing applications for retail stores wishing to sell legal (under state law, anyway), "just-for-fun" pot. The result: A handful of stores will scramble to open on Tuesday, as Washington state electronically issued its first retail pot licenses early Monday, reports NBC News.

So as lines form with law-abiding citizens jonesing for some state-regulated green, keep in mind these five legal reminders:

  1. Very few stores have licenses, pot to sell. When we blogged about pot tourism in March, we noted that only one marijuana producer in Washington state had been granted a license. Unlike Colorado, where "legal" pot sales began in January, only a few stores in the Evergreen State are optimistic they'll actually have pot to sell Tuesday. USA Today reports that Cannabis City will be the only Seattle location "ready to go" on Tuesday, and that two-gram bags will be selling for $54 apiece.
  2. No smoking "legal" weed in public! Just like Colorado, Washington state prohibits legal marijuana possessors (recreational or medical) from smoking marijuana in public. Public places include parks, sidewalks, malls, buses, trains, and just about any place that isn't a private smoke room or residence.
  3. Chew on this: No edibles in Washington state just yet. Responding to concerns about safety and dosing of marijuana edibles, state regulators are still revisiting the rules on THC treats in Washington. The Seattle Times reports that recreational edibles have yet to be approved for sale, but state officials are attempting to make sure edibles meet food safety standards and have child-resistant packaging.
  4. No pot plants either. Unlike Colorado, unless you're a licensed grower in Washington state, the average pot enthusiast can't bring home a pot plant. You can purchase up to one ounce of dried marijuana, however, regardless of whether you live in or out of state.
  5. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Though the DOJ has somewhat promised to back off on enforcement, any sale or use of pot in Washington state is still illegal under federal law. This may be little comfort to medical dispensaries that were raided just last year by the feds.

So Washingtonians, ponder these legal reminders while deciding whether to stand in line for recreational pot on Tuesday.

  • Know someone who has been arrested or charged with a crime? Get in touch with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in your area today.

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