Washington’s Legal Marijuana Industry Open For Business

WASHINGTON: More than a year and a half since voters in Washington overwhelmingly voted for the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults, retail stores in the Evergreen State will finally open for business on Tuesday, July 8.

Around two dozen venues around the state are expected to open their doors — a fraction of the 334 retail stores that will eventually be licensed and supervised by Washington’s Liquor Control Board.

National and local press will focus on Seattle’s Columbia City, where Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes (an 1-502 sponsor) and ACLU’s Alison Holcomb (who authored I-502) will be witnesses to the historic event. Long lines, limited product (mostly bulk, and pre-rolled flower) and steep prices are anticipated at the event, which begins classically at “High Noon.”

But from my perspective as the CEO of the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) – a.k.a. “the chamber of commerce for legal cannabis business,” the real story goes much deeper than Tuesday’s media event.

For the past year and a half the building blocks for a new industry have been laid in Washington State. A true grassroots phenomenon, the legal marijuana industry is being created by a broad swath of Americans, each bringing something unique to the party.