BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Washington on Tuesday became the second state to allow people to buy marijuana legally in the U.S. without a doctor's note as eager customers who lined up outside stores made their purchases and savored the moment.
People began buying marijuana at 8 a.m. at Top Shelf Cannabis, one of two Bellingham stores that started selling the drug, as soon as it was allowed under state regulations. Several dozen people waited outside before the doors opened at the shop in this liberal college town of about 80,000 north of Seattle.
The first three customers in line were residents of Kansas, in Bellingham for their grandfather's 84th birthday. Sarah Gorton, 24, of Abilene, Kan., arrived with her younger brother Robbie, as well as her boyfriend.
Washington and Colorado voted in November 2012 to legalize marijuana for adults over 21, and to create state-licensed systems for growing, selling and taxing the pot. Sales began in Colorado on Jan. 1.
Washington issued its first 24 retail licenses Monday. An Associated Press survey of the licensees showed only about six planned to open Tuesday: two in Bellingham, one in Seattle, one in Spokane, one in Prosser and one in Kelso. Some were set to open later this week or next, while others said it could be a month or more before they could acquire marijuana to sell.