Retail marijuana sales will likely start in Washington State this Tuesday. Washington State regulators began issuing the first of around 20 licenses for retail marijuana stores on Monday, July 7th. The license authorizes retailers to begin sales 24 hours after receipt of the license.

Marijuana Licenses

Washington will become the second state after Colorado to issue retail marijuana licenses, and where residents can legally purchase marijuana for recreational use. However, in a difficult to reconcile legal conundrum, federal law still classifies the possession or sale of marijuana as a criminal offense.

Washington State’s retail sales of marijuana is part of a growing trend towards loosening marijuana laws. Legal marijuana supporters in the District of Columbia submitted petitions Monday that may put the pot approval issue on the upcoming November ballot. Alaska voters are also scheduled to vote on marijuana legalization in November.

Further details on marijuana licenses

After a retailer receives their marijuana sales license, they can immediately place an order with a licensed processor. The processor, however, is required to quarantine marijuana products for 24 hours before delivery. Retailers are also required scan the barcoded marijuana products receivede and enter the data into a statewide database.

The customers of the retail marijuana establishments can purchase up to an ounce of ready-to-smoke marijuana. Customers can also purchase up to 16 ounces of marijuana-infused edible product in solid form, or up to 72 ounces in liquid form.

Shortages expected after marijuana licenses are issued

Business owners and industry analyst suggest that legal pot could sell out very quickly in some areas after the first stores open on Tuesday.

Regulators and analysts say the problem relates to limited harvests by licensed growers and processors and the fact that many who wanted marijuana licenses did not meet the regulatory standards to become licensed growers.

The state regulatory authorities are struggling to deal with a backlog of hundreds of growers who’ve applied in the last few months, as each application must be screened individually by the state Liquor Control Board.