Buyers line up at first legal pot shops in Washington state

Tue Jul 8, 2014 9:35pm EDT
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By Eric M. Johnson and Bryan Cohen

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Eager customers lined up before dawn on Tuesday as Washington became the second U.S. state to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use, although shortages and high prices were likely to accompany any euphoria.

Store employees clapped and cheered at Top Shelf Cannabis in the northern city of Bellingham as its first buds were sold to a 29-year-old from Kansas, Cale Holdsworth.

"I'm happy to be a part of history," said Holdsworth, who was on vacation visiting family and took his place at the front of the line at about 4 a.m.

A handful of shops opened a day after 25 outlets were issued licenses under a heavily regulated and taxed system approved by voters in November 2012.

The nation, and the federal government, are watching Washington's rollout as a broader trend of liberalization and pro-pot activism takes hold in the United States.

More than 100 people were outside Top Shelf Cannabis, in an industrial office park, when the doors opened at 8 a.m.

After Holdsworth's ID was checked to ensure he was 21 or older, he picked out two grams (0.07 ounce) of "OG Pearl Kush" for $26.50, which included about $6 in taxes.

His marijuana was placed in black plastic packaging labeled with its name and strength.   Continued...

People wait in the heat to enter Cannabis City during the first day of legal retail marijuana sales in Seattle, Washington July 8, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Redmond