It’s just hours away when the state of Washington has the first licensed recreational pot stores open. Many of the just awarded licensees received an email in the early morning hours today. This has been 20 months in the making since the recreational use was legalized. As the emailed notifications were received, shop owners began placing orders with some of the state’s licensed growers. Some were having trouble with the software tracking system that is required.
Prices are expected to be double what is charged for the medical marijuana because of lack of supply in the beginning. More than 2,600 people have applied to be growers and only 100 have been licensed to be growers with only a dozen ready to harvest by early this month.
In Colorado, the cash crop from recreational sales is turning out to be even more profitable than the state could have hoped. In the first four months of this year Colorado has seen more than $10 million in taxes that will go to public schools and infrastructure. The Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper is expecting sales to top $1 billion this year with tax revenues of $134 million which is 50% more than predicted. The Governor was not in favor of the state legalization legislation. According to government data, crime has decreased since the legalization. Marijuana related arrests made up 50% of all the Colorado drug related crimes and those have plummeted since the legalization. Other crimes are down as well not at all as it was predicted. The Governor has changed his tune saying that things are thriving in Colorado.
Public opinion has certainly changed in just a few years. This November, Washington, D.C. will vote on a marijuana ballot measure. Since the federal government and the DEA has not changed the stance on it being a crime, there will be extreme pressure for change. This may be the most important battle yet in the marijuana prohibition fight. There is already a DEA request to remove marijuana from the Food and Drug Administration’s list of the most dangerous and harmful drugs.