The first recreational marijuana stores in Washington state opened Tuesday June 8th. Washington’s medical marijuana industry operates with very little government oversight. However, The marijuana is heavily taxed at every step in the process. The government collects a 25 percent tax when growers sell it to processors, then again when processors sell it to retail stores and yet again when stores sell it to consumers. (raising questions about the legality of “triple taxation”).
Possessing marijuana in small amounts and consuming it at home has been legal in Washington for almost two years now, since voters passed Initiative 502 in 2012, however, the legalization of recreational marijuana stores just happened in November of 2013 with the first 25 licenses being issued around the state by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which administers recreational marijuana, on July 7th of 2014 and the first stores opening a day latter.
Low Supply, High Demand
Washington’s law only allows for recreational marijuana to be sold from licensed grows, and it has to be produced in state. Those growers have yet to harvest a full crop which is constricting the availability of recreational marijuana in the sate. The New York Times is reporting hundreds of people standing in line at some retail establishments.
The low supply and high demand is also causing prices of recreational marijuana to spike in the state with reports of 1 gram (a dime bag) going for $25.