Lines form as legal marijuana sales start in Wash. state

Lines form as legal marijuana sales start in Wash. state
An employee delivers a box of legal weed to Cannabis City in Seattle's SoDo district.
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - The first legal sales of recreational marijuana in Washington state have begun.

Eager customers bought pot at 8 a.m. Tuesday at Bellingham's Top Shelf Cannabis, the very first seller of recreational pot in Washington state. The store started selling marijuana as soon as was allowed under state regulations.

It was a flurry of activity Tuesday morning at Top Shelf Cannabis as employees readied marijuana for sale.

One of the store's employees showed up at about 5 a.m. with about 7½ pounds of product ready to sell. The store expects to get another 13 pounds later Tuesday morning.

"It's nerve-wracking because we have so much to do today - count all this inventory, get it in the computer, get the rest of our stuff put away," Zack Henifin of Top Shelf Cannabis said earlier as he and other employees got everything ready.

The owner tells KOMO News his starting price is just $10 a gram - so the early shoppers are getting a bargain this morning, since some this week predicted first day prices would be more than double that at $25 a gram.

The other marijuana store in Bellingham, 20/20 Solutions, says they ran into a regulatory snag and will not open until later this week.

Meanwhile, in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood, another store is getting ready to open at noon. That store, Cannabis City, is the only store that will be selling legal pot in Seattle on Tuesday.

A line started to form at 3 p.m. Monday when a 65-year-old retiree named Deb Greene showed up with a chair, sleeping bag, food, water and a 930-page book.

"I voted for it, and I'm just so excited to see it come to be in my lifetime," she said. "I'm not a heavy user, I'm just proud of our state for giving this a try."

Cannabis City is expecting between 2,000 and 5,000 people here on Tuesday.

"It is definitely exciting and an iconic event," says store manager Amber McGowan "It's a big deal for Seattle, and it's definitely a big deal for us."

Security personnel will be present at the store to check customers' IDs. They must be 21 or over to purchase pot.

Patrons can buy up to an ounce for $350, but most people will likely buy a gram, which is the size of a quarter, for $20.

The start of legal pot sales in Washington marks a major step that's been 20 months in the making.

Washington and Colorado stunned much of the world by voting in November 2012 to legalize marijuana for adults over 21, and to create state-licensed systems for growing, selling and taxing the pot. Sales began in Colorado on Jan. 1.

Washington issued its first 24 retail licenses Monday, though not all businesses planned to start selling weed on Tuesday.

State law allows the sale of up to an ounce of dried marijuana, 16 ounces of pot-infused solids, 72 ounces of pot-infused liquids or 7 grams of concentrated marijuana, like hashish, to adults over 21.