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In Wash. State, Would-Be Customers Eagerly Await Pot Store Openings

Austin Jenkins
Rick Stevens stopped by 420 Carpenter, a marijuana retail location in Lacey, Washington to see if it was open yet.

The first legal marijuana stores in Washington are scheduled to open Tuesday. The Liquor Control Board issued the first 24 retail licenses early Monday.

But state officials warn of high prices and short supply in the beginning. Even so that’s not keeping away some would-be customers.

Outside 420 Carpenter, one of the licensed recreational marijuana retail locations, surveillance cameras keep watch. On Monday, no one answered the door, which was locked with a deadbolt.

But as I was standing there, Bobby Johnson wandered up. He was scouting this location on behalf of some local users of the social networking site Reddit. We both observed the location seemed out of the way in the back of an office park.

“It’s very nondescript, but I’m sure everyone will know where it’s at very soon,” Johnson said.

The owner of 420 Carpenter plans to open on Friday. Johnson says he’d like to be one of the first customers.

“I might drive by and see if there’s an insane line. If there’s not, then, yeah, I probably will,” he said.

And how does he plan to use recreational marijuana in his own life?

“Well, I’m a little more excited about the edibles once that becomes available. I’m not really a big smoker,” Johnson said.

Eventually, legal pot shops will sell edibles. But that part of Washington’s nascent legal, recreational marijuana marketplace isn’t ready yet. For that matter, much of the legal pot crop isn’t, either.

“It is a real issue,” said Randy Simmons, deputy director of the Washington Liquor Control Board, adding he expects some grumbling. “I would just say give it time. This is day one of this infant starting to walk.”

Speaking of kids, Simmons says the state will be running stings to make sure stores don’t sell to underage customers.

Outside 420 Carpenter, another would-be customer showed up on Monday. Retiree Rick Stevens has used marijuana medically for a bad back. Now he’s ready to become a recreational user.

“It makes food taste better and music seems to sound better and all of those things,” Stevens said.

What will be the soundtrack to his first legal, marijuana high?

“Probably Pink Floyd ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’” Stevens said.

Map Of Licensed Pot Stores

Editor's Note: We will continue to update the map with scheduled opening dates as we hear back from licensees. Map by KPLU intern Malcolm Griffes.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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