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The Evergreen

Seattle Times coverage of pot policy, culture and lifestyle.

July 8, 2014 at 6:58 AM

Seattle’s pot store opens: It’s time to ‘free the weed’

It’s time to “free the weed,” Cannabis City owner James Lathrop said before opening the doors to Seattle’s first pot store shortly after noon.

The weed isn’t free, of course. It’s going for about $20 a gram. But there are plenty of buyers ready, including some notables such as Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and Alison Holcomb, author of the state’s legal pot law.

“Today marijuana sales became legal and I’m here to personally exercise that new freedom,” Holmes said.

Then the crowd started a countdown to “high noon,” though the store officially opened a few minutes later.

Cannibis City owner James Lathrop shortly after cutting the police tape "ribbon" to open Seattle's first pot store. Photo by Times staff reporter Evan Bush.

Cannabis City owner James Lathrop (center) shortly after cutting the police tape “ribbon” to open Seattle’s first pot store. Photo by Times staff reporter Evan Bush.

They aren’t the first buyers in the state — two stores opened at 8 a.m., including Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham.

Cale Holdsworth and Sarah Gorton of Kansas, who arrived about 4 a.m., were first in line there to buy a portion of the store’s 20-plus pounds of pot that was delivered earlier in the morning. By the time the store opened, dozens of others had joined them in line.

Cale Holdsworth of Kansas celebrates buying the first bag of pot at Top Shelf in Bellingham.  Photo by Times staff photographer Mark Harrison

Cale Holdsworth of Kansas celebrates buying the first bag of pot at Top Shelf in Bellingham. Photo by Times staff photographer Mark Harrison

Store owners initially planned to sell their more-than-20 pounds of pot two grams at a time, but this morning, citing fewer people than expected, said they would allow people to buy up to an ounce, the maximum allowed under the law. A second Bellingham store had to delay its planned Tuesday morning opening late Monday because of supply issues.

In dry heat steadily climbing to a high of 101, scores of customers waited outside Altitude in Prosser for their first legal purchase.

Manager Tim Thompson and his team of 18 employees passed out water to the crowd, which began lining up around 5 a.m.

“We’re grateful to have them and keep them hydrated,” Thompson said.

Sixty customers and an hour and a half after Altitude’s doors opened at 8 a.m., the grapefruit strain was sold out, and their querkle, a hybrid indica-sativa, was almost sold out.

Altitude expects to receive new shipments every day from Fireweed Farms in Prosser.

The store will remain open until noon today and will be open the rest of the week from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“We’re doing soft openings just for this week and just to get our employees adjusted and get supplies and everything up to date,” Thompson said.

Cannabis City, meanwhile, held a a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:30. The line outside the Sodo shop started forming Monday afternoon.

First in line was Deborah Greene, a 65-year-old grandmother who arrived Monday afternoon with a trenta black iced tea lemonade from Starbucks, a roast beef sandwich, chips, a folding chair and a sleeping bag.

Greene, who is retired from the insurance industry, decided on a whim to wait in line to witness history.

“My old supplier just texted me, said, ‘I saw you on TV. Now I know why you’re not calling me,'” she said this morning.

Only five stores statewide are expected to open today; the other two are in Spokane and Kelso.

Spokane Green Leaf opened at 2 p.m., according to Inlander.

The Freedom Market’s grand opening in Kelso has been postponed until at least 6 p.m., and employees have had to tell anxious crowds to come back later.

The Market expected its first shipment from Kouchlock Productions in Spokane at 11:30 a.m., according to manager Hollie Hillman.

She said she doesn’t know why the shipment was delayed, but guessed that it was because there was a shortage of product. Kouchlock officials could not be reached for comment.

Hillman would not disclose how big the expected shipment was, describing it as a “limited quality.”

As of 4 p.m., a crowd of 50 had already lined up outside of Freedom Market, which will stay open until midnight — provided it opens today — and will reopen at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

For more information about the state’s new legal pot market and for updates throughout the day, visit The Evergreen, The Seattle Times’ new pot blog.

Times staff reporters Bob Young, Evan Bush, Colleen Wright and Andy Mannix contributed to this report.

Comments | More in News | Topics: marijuana

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