clock menu more-arrow no yes

7 highlights from Washington's first day of legal pot sales

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, Jeremy Cooper, and first customer Deb Greene exit after purchasing marijuana at Seattle's Cannabis City.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, Jeremy Cooper, and first customer Deb Greene exit after purchasing marijuana at Seattle's Cannabis City.
Getty Images

The first day of legal pot sales in Washington came and went without much of a hitch.

Given the interest in how legalization is working out in Colorado and Washington, here are seven highlights on how Washington's first day of retail sales went.

1) There were massive lines, and stores were fairly busy throughout the day

Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham, the first store to open in the state, had served about 500 customers after eight hours of sales, and store owner Tom Beckley said the store remain packed throughout the day.

Cannabis City, which opened at noon, also experienced fairly long lines and a festive environment that ABC News dubbed "a circus atmosphere."

2) Despite the massive lines at some locations, there were very few reported problems

Beckley said his store, which was the first to open in the state, only had one problem of note. "I expected many little and big things to go wrong," Beckley said. "There hasn't been one issue, except that we ran out of receipt paper."

3) For some stores, this was a more a day of celebration than a day of business

Beckley said his store sold marijuana at the lowest price possible — $10 a gram — in a show of gratitude to the first 50 to 100 customers. "We were honestly making very little on it," he said, "but we wanted to make sure everyone got a piece of I-502 [the voter-approved legalization initiative] as a thank you."

4) Most licensed stores didn't open

A pot shortage and other supply problems kept most licensed shops from opening. Although 25 pot shops were licensed by the state's Liquor Control Board in time for Tuesday, only five reportedly opened and sold pot. Seattle, the state's most populous city, had only one store open: Cannabis City. And even the stores that opened said they expected their supply to dwindle or run out throughout the week.

5) Meticulous planning let a few pot shops open on day one

Beckley said his store was the first to open in the state thanks to a lot of planning. Over the past three weeks, Top Shelf Cannabis assigned one employee to buy up as much marijuana as possible. If the grower-processor couldn't deliver the product quickly, the store sent someone to pick it up. If all goes as planned, the preparation will allow Top Shelf Cannabis continue selling throughout the week.

6) No edibles were sold

Washington regulators recently passed an emergency rule that requires all packaging for edible products to get approval before ending up on store shelves, and no products were approved in time for Tuesday sales.

The rule is largely in response to Colorado's struggles with marijuana edibles, which can be riskier since they often contain less predictable doses of pot than, say, a joint or vape pen. As the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project often points out, the problems with marijuana edibles show that Colorado and Washington will need to make adjustments to their regulatory schemes as they take on the relatively new policy of legalization.

7) Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes bought some pot

In an interview with Q13 Fox News, Holmes, who supports legalization, said he was exercising his new freedom — and he hopes the Drug Enforcement Administration, which enforces federal laws against marijuana, won't mind.

"I bought two two-gram bags of OG pearl, which was recommended," Homes said. "I'm keeping one bag for posterity and one for personal enjoyment at some point when it's appropriate."

To learn about why it would be good if marijuana supplanted alcohol as America's mind-altering substance of choice, watch the video below: