Pot retailers, growers in Wash. gear up for legalization

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Pot retailers and growers in the state of Washington are hoping to cash in when recreational marijuana use becomes legal.

Voters in Washington opted to legalize recreational pot use in March, and the first dispensaries are expected to open in 2014.

John Davis, who runs a medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle, currently sells product only to customers with a doctor’s note — everything from bud to chocolates to marijuana sodas.

“We have baked goods … we have sweets and savouries.”

But with recreational sales on the way, Davis plans to use the store as a template to apply for a retail licence so he can sell to anyone.

“I don't think you're going to see something that is wildly successful the first year,” he said. “There's going to be a lot of problems with it. We're going to have to come back and revisit it.”

‘This is possible’

Under Washington's new rules, there will be 334 pot stores in the state, including up to 15 close to the B.C. border. A gram will retail for roughly $8 to $10 US, of which roughly 40 per cent will be tax.

Washington’s pot growers are also hoping to cash in on the state’s new rules.

Muraco Kyashna-tocha currently grows her bud for medical users, but she’s eyeing a licence to produce it under Washington State's liquor board.

“I think what this means for the rest of the planet is they start to think that this is possible,” she said. “If two states in the U.S. have legalized cannabis, then you can't say it’s not possible in B.C. anymore.”

Last November, voters in Colorado passed an amendment making the limited sale, possession and growing of marijuana for recreational purposes legal for adults 21 and over.

Meanwhile, cannabis crusaders in B.C. launched a drive Monday to hold a provincewide referendum on decriminalizing pot possession.

Sensible BC has 90 days to collect more than 350,000 signatures from across the province. If successful, it could trigger a referendum on a draft bill that would amend the B.C. Police Act to prohibit the use of police resources to enforce simple possession and use laws for adults.

In Washington, so-called 'potrepreneurs' have until the end of December to submit their applications, with businesses expected to be up and running in the spring.