The second state to offer legal marijuana for recreational use will begin sales on July 8, but prices could be higher than most are used to paying.
Washington state’s Liquor Control Board will issue licenses on July 7 to around 20 retail businesses, which will be allowed to open the following day, state officials announced Tuesday. More licenses are expected to be awarded later in the month.
Michael Perkins is one retailer hoping to begin sales on the first day of the new program. He operates several medical marijuana dispensaries and expects initial prices for recreational marijuana to run high.
“I would assume $20 to $25 a gram until the producers reduce their prices,” Perkins said.
“I expect to see demand for the 502 [marijuana]. I expect to run out of product. And, I expect the people coming to run over and try to get a card… so they can go to a medical store next door.”
Much like Colorado’s program during its early days, many see Washington’s recreational market being undersupplied at the start.
The Liquor Control Board has so far issued over 50 licenses to growers and processors, but according to Austin Lott of The Fresh Greens, another hopeful retailer, it’s not clear how many will have product ready for retailers next month.
“I’ve contacted a few processors through email and received no response yet. And that means I don’t have much info on prices — it’s all just speculation at this point, but I expect them to be higher than black market, certainly,” said Lott.
“They’ll come way down next year come November/December when the big outdoor crops come in.”
On the other hand, with buyers facing an effective tax rate of 44% on recreational marijuana, some believe that medical dispensaries will likely retain the bulk of customers.[Seattle PI] [AP]