Seattle, WA -- Washington is becoming the second U.S. state to allow the sale of recreational marijuana, and Tuesday a small group of specialty stores will open for business.
Voters approved pot sales in the 2012 election -- the same time as Colorado -- but the new law has taken longer to roll out in Washington.
Workers at Cannabis City were busy putting the finishing touches on their store Monday.
"I think this is one of the major events for Seattle local history, for sure," said James Lanthrop, the owner of the pot shop.
The 25 approved pot shops opening Tuesday across Washington state are supplied by only about a dozen licensed growers. Estimates suggest demand during the first few days could drive prices up to as much as $25 dollars per gram -- three times the black market price.
The Top Shelf Cannabis store in Bellingham has a stock of just 19 pounds of marijuana.
"If there's 200 people in line, we probably won't limit the product. But if we look outside and there's a thousand people in line, we're gonna limit it to probably three grams, two or three grams, per person," said John Evich, owner of Top Shelf.
Some estimates suggest the state could generate as much as $2 billion in tax revenue during the first five years of marijuana sales. But puffing in public remains illegal in the state, and marijuana edibles are not yet available.
Pot shops are also prohibited within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, childcare centers and libraries.
In a state where one out of five 10th graders already uses marijuana, Washington health officials are urging parents to take action, even releasing a radio ad which warns, "now that it's legal for those over 21, it's more important than ever to talk to your kids about the risks of marijuana."
Eventually, as many as 334 marijuana shops are expected to open statewide. The law passed fairly easily in Seattle and surrounding areas, but was not as popular in central and eastern Washington.
Some retailers were actually expecting protesters to show up on Tuesday, along with customers.