Washington state just legalized recreational marijuana this week. What does that mean? It means you can walk into a marijuana shop and buy and use marijuana just for fun. Very interesting that two of the best ski/snowboard states in the union have now totally legalized marijuana.
Colorado legalized recreational marijuana this past January. So far, their crime rates have dropped and they’ve brought in over $34 million in marijuana taxes. They also had the biggest number of skier visits in history this past winter which they’re partially crediting to legal marijuana.
Will Washington State now see these same benefits? Maybe.
Washington legalized marijuana in 2012. Now they’re allowing shops to sell it to people for recreational enjoyment. So far, Obama and the feds have said that he will respect state laws.
It doesn’t hurt that 55% of Americans now support legalization of marijuana. It’s now good political policy to support legal marijuana.
Prices of recreational marijuana have been riding the roller coaster of supply and demand in CO so far. An ounce of the stuff has cost as high as $300 and as low as $85 in Colorado. WA will likely go through the same thing until demand is fully established and understood there.
Washington State expects to bring in $190 million in marijuana taxes over the next four years.
Colorado and Washington both have legalized recreational marijuana sales. But there are some marked differences in how they regulate marijuana sales.
DIFFERENCES FOR BUYERS AND GROWERS IN CO & WA:
1. CO allows permanent residents to grow a few plants for personal use. WA law says only licensed farmers can grow week.
2. WA will only allow 234 recreational marijuana stores statewide, distributed by population, and cities and can bar them. CO has no cap on the number of stores in the state.
3. CO allows licensed operators to grow, process, and sell marijuana. WA has separated producers and growers from retailers.
4. CO & WA allow buyers to posses up to an ounce of marijuana at any time. But CO restricts non-residents to buying only a quarter ounce at a time. WA makes no distinction between non-resident and resident marijuana sales.
5. WA is limiting marijuana growing space to 2 million square feet. CO doesn’t limit how much private space can be used for marijuana growing operations. In this way WA is basically capping how much marijuana can be sold in the state. CO is going with a free market model.
6. WA requires quality testing for all marijuana products on the first day of sales. CO started with no mandatory testing but now has testing as well.