Though lagging behind Colorado in implementing its legal marijuana retail system, the state of Washington is one month into its great experiment, and it seems that so far everyone is seeing green. After initiating sales at the beginning of July, Washington’s marijuana market has seen $3.8 million in sales, and raised right around $1 million in new tax revenue for the state, according to NBC News. The important thing to remember about those figures is that they are coming in from 18 total stores spread across the state which have opened for business, despite the fact that around forty stores received licensing.
Not only are only a handful of stores operating across the state, but most have seen prolonged closures as a result of product shortages. Lines down the street were seen at shops in Seattle, but so far stores have run out of product very quickly as a result of high demand and low supply.
“It’s off to a healthy start, considering that the system isn’t fully up and running yet,” Washington Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith told NBC News.
Since January, Colorado state officials have reported nearly $30 million in new revenue from its marijuana market, coming in the form of taxes, fees and licensing. Colorado and Washington, the only two states in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use, are taking two different approaches to the same issue. Colorado is taking a more direct approach, by opting for a much freer, open market while Washington’s market is much more tightly regulated, under control of the state’s Liquor Control Board.
Since marijuana was decriminalized and legalized in December of 2012, the Washington Liquor Control Board has dragged its feet in implementing a retail system, much to the dismay of potential customers and entrepreneurs, as well as analysts waiting to see how effective the state’s policies would be. The state agency finally allowed sales to begin earlier this summer, and we are just now beginning to see the system’s effectiveness and spoils.