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Bellingham Store First To Open, Sell Legal Pot In Wash., Seattle Store Follows

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo
Cale Holdsworth, of Abeline, Kan., holds up his purchase after being the first in line to buy legal recreational marijuana at Top Shelf Cannabis, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Bellingham, Wash. Holdsworth had been in line since 4:00 a.m.

The first legal sales of recreational marijuana in Washington state have begun.

Eager customers bought pot at 8 a.m. at Bellingham's Top Shelf Cannabis, one of two stores in the city north of Seattle that started selling marijuana as soon as was allowed under state regulations.

In Seattle, the city's first pot shop welcomed customers in the SoDo neighborhood at noon. Dozens of media waited alongside dozens of customers for the doors of Cannabis City to open.

Store owner James Lethrop, holding a large scissors to cut the ribbon for the official opening, said it was time to "free the weed."

Credit Elaine Thompson / AP Photo
AP Photo
Deb Greene, right, shows off her first marijuana purchase as Cannabis City owner James Lathrop motions behind on the first day that sales of recreational pot became legal Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Seattle.

First in line and first served was Deb Greene, who lined up at 3 p.m. Monday and spent the night outside the store. Greene says she smoked her first joint at age 28 and "fell in love with it."

"I feel elated and almost teary-eyed, to be honest," she said. "It’s just so remarkable,  because my generation — we never thought we’d see this, ever."

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, who supported efforts to legalize the drug, was one of the first people allowed inside the store.

“Today, marijuana sales became legal, and I’m here to personally exercise myself this new freedom," Holmes said.

Credit Malcolm Griffes / KPLU
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes walks out of Cannabis City on Tuesday, July 8, 2014.

Later, Holmes emerged from the store with a bag of marijuana — some for posterity and some for his personal use, he said.

Washington became the second state in the U.S. to allow the sale of recreational pot. Colorado began sales 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.


Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.