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In 2012, Washington and Colorado voters made history when they approved measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Washington Initiative 502 “authorizes the state liquor board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age or older.”Since the vote in Washington, the Liquor Board has written a complex set of rules for the state’s new, legal recreational cannabis marketplace. The agency has also set limits on the amount of marijuana that can be grown. And the Board has begun to license growers, processors and retailers.For now, the Obama administration has signaled it will not interfere with Washington and Colorado’s legal pot experiment, unless there is evidence that legal pot is “leaking” to other states or children are getting access to the legal product. The feds are also watching to see if criminal organizations exploit the legal market.The first marijuana retail stores in Washington opened in July 2014.Recreational marijuana is also set to become legal in Oregon on July 1, 2015 after voters approved Measure 91 in November 2014.

'Altitude' Legal Pot Store Opens In Eastern Washington Farming Town

Anna King
Northwest News Network

Legal marijuana stores opened Tuesday morning in Washington state. One of the earliest locations to open was in the rural Eastern Washington farming community of Prosser.

The “Altitude” marijuana store in Prosser is housed in a neat, doublewide trailer. It opened with a long line, a few protestors and polite applause.

Waiting in line to get his first gram of legal weed was 28-year-old Jacob Nichols. He said he’s smoked many times before, but was still excited to get some legal pot.

“It’s more regulated here, and you get from what I’ve heard good quality, and its goes through testing," Nichols said. "You know where it’s from.”

About two dozen stores were licensed by the state this week from Seattle to Spokane. But how much supply the stores will have over the coming days is still unclear.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.