Washington residents celebrate legalized pot, face shortages

Pot sales begin in Washington, but supplies a... 02:27

At 12 p.m. Tuesday, Cannabis City owner James Lanthrop exclaimed: "It's time to free the weed!"

When the clock struck noon, he cut police tape to symbolically mark the legal sale of recreational pot in Washington state for the first time, CBS News' Adriana Diaz reports.

65-year-old Deborah Greene, who waited in line for nearly 24 hours, was the first customer.

"My gosh, who would have thought!" Greene exclaimed. "It used to be, 'Yay, I got some good bud here 20 bucks. You want it? Yeah.' You don't know what you're getting."

Cannabis City is just one of four retail stores in the state currently open for business. More than 300 retail licenses are set to be issued.

The hold up: Washington state's medical marijuana dispensaries are unregulated. So while Colorado was able to transition medical marijuana to recreational earlier this year, Washington had to make a fresh start, and less than a-tenth of approved growers were ready to harvest in time.

Short supplies and high taxes pushed prices to double the street value. Still, hundreds of people lined the block of Seattle's only retailer. And while many of those outside Cannabis City celebrated, others took issue with the drug now being readily and legally available.

"We're going to see a lot of people entering the marketplace who maybe wouldn't have before," said Courtney Popp, a special deputy with the Washington State Patrol. "Ever since the legalization passed, every park you go to, every large public event there are people openly smoking marijuana."

But Greene thinks the presence of pot will diminish abuse of the drug.

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"It's in a form that we can at least start to manage, and maybe take some of the scariness away from other people who don't really know about it," she said.

The sales don't come without restrictions. People are banned from smoking in public, pot retailers cannot be within 1,000 feet of a school and customers can only buy up to 28 grams at a time.