Colorado marijuana sales give glimpse of Washington's future

The News TribuneMarch 16, 2014 

Washington is entering uncharted territory as state government hands out its first licenses to produce and sell a once-forbidden substance.

Make that: nearly uncharted.

Sales of marijuana to recreational users started Jan. 1 in Colorado, at least five months before they can begin here.

By another reckoning, Colorado’s head start is bigger: the three-and-a-half years since that state first licensed stores to sell marijuana to patients with medical conditions. Medical marijuana is sold in Washington too, of course, but only at unregulated, unlicensed and quasi-legal stores.

To see what a state-licensed system looks like, The News Tribune and the Tri-City Herald spent five days in Colorado during the state’s second month of sales to recreational users.

It was a glimpse of Washington’s future.

But keep in mind the big differences.

The biggest: Colorado drew on its established network of medical marijuana businesses, giving them first dibs on licenses.

The basic concept, though, is the same: sales to any adult 21 or older — condoned, regulated and tracked by state government.

Find out what happens when Marijuana Inc. comes to town.

Jordan Schrader: 360-786-1826; jordan.schrader@thenewstribune.com

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