"Do you know if Maureen is here? Cause I'm supposed to start work today." The young woman asking the question approached the handful of customers seated outside Whidbey Island Cannabis Company's new retail shop at 5826 S. Kramer Rd in Langley ten minutes before opening, all of whom were waiting for a delivery of weed that was already late with no ETA.
It's been that kind of day for Washington's legal marijuana retail stores on their first day of operation.
In Seattle, what was supposed to be an 8 a.m. opening stretched to a noon opening (and ended up being more like 12:15 p.m.). Kelso's store was in the same boat as Whidbey's, waiting impatiently on deliveries. Over in Bellevue, eager customers waited outside a pot shop that never opened. Both Tacoma pot shops announced they would not be open despite receiving permits.
Back here on Whidbey Island, the retail operation was open but there was no product in the cases. Only a few tiny signs on the doors denoted what company was inside. When asked how much they would selling and for what price, employees were unsure given the secretive and unknown nature of their approved supplies.
Customers began appearing in ones and twos around the 11 a.m. opening time but most left when they heard about the delays. The handful that stuck around until noon left their phone numbers in order to be notified when product finally arrived.
Here, at least, the mood was jovial despite the delays. As one man put it, "I don't need it that bad, I just want to be here for the first day."
"Must be refreshing to open a business and have people sit outside waiting," said another potential customer, before giving up himself. When one older woman got out of her to ask if the store was open, she was told, "You're in the right place. The grass isn't."
"That's been the problem for a long time," she replied.
Things are sure to sort themselves out, given a little time. Once they have their product and make initial sales, stores like the one on Whidbey will have a chance to catch their breath and start doing simple things like marketing and promotion. Those who walked away disappointed today will probably come back. Because it's not about the high just yet, it's still about the history being made. Slowly but surely.
· If you wanted to buy legal pot in Bellevue today, you're out of luck [PSBJ]
· Don't look for marijuana on sale Tuesday when state allows first legal retail sales [TNT]
· All The Seattle-Area Pot Stores Open For Business Tuesday [Curbed Seattle]