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Washington Handling Legal Pot Differently Than Colorado

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DENVER (CBS4) – Washington state has joined Colorado in legalizing recreational marijuana, and as expected, lines were long when the first shops opened for business in Washington on Tuesday.

A dispensary owner counts down to his grand opening in Washington on Tuesday morning (credit: CBS)

A dispensary owner counts down to his grand opening in Washington on Tuesday morning (credit: CBS)

While many states are considering sales, for now Washington and Colorado are the only states where recreational pot is legal. CBS4’s Rick Sallinger reported from Washington earlier this year and it’s handling pot sales differently than Colorado.

A line around a building of  people waiting to purchase pot in Washington on Tuesday morning (credit: CBS)

A line around a building of people waiting to purchase pot in Washington on Tuesday morning (credit: CBS)

A lot of dispensaries opened up the first of the year in Colorado, but in Washington they’ve licensed only a small number of growers and about two dozen dispensaries. Just a handful opened on Tuesday.

Six months behind the state of Colorado, a few more hours in line didn’t seem to matter to those in Washington.

“I’m really proud to be from this state, proud to be from Washington, and I’m proud that we as the people decided to do this and made it happen,” Washington resident Brian Travino said.

Unlike Colorado, existing medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington are not being allowed to sell recreational pot.

“In Washington they did not have an existing system of regulated medical marijuana sales and cultivation. Colorado had a leg up in that we were already regulating medical marijuana,” Mason Tvert with the Marijuana Policy Project said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

CBS4 did a survey and found prices in Washington somewhat comparable to Colorado — $20 a gram in Bellingham, Wash., and $10 to $19 a gram in Denver, depending on the store. Taxes are different.

“A fair amount of consumers sort of gripe about marijuana taxes in Colorado, but they are almost three times as high in Washington state,” Brian Vicente with Sensible Colorado said.

In Colorado residents can grow their own marijuana to a limit, but not in Washington where one man has given pot up.

“When I was a kid I told myself that when they legalized it I would stop smoking, so I’m here to do my last buy and stop smoking pot because they’ve taken all the fun out of it,” he said.

Another difference is that in Washington they are not allowing marijuana edibles to be sold at this time as they try to learn from Colorado’s problems.

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