Oregon Pot Shops Begin Sales to Recreational Users
By: By Jonathan J. Cooper and Bob Seavey/AP | washingtonpost.com
PORTLAND, Ore. — Eager night owls looking to score some of the first recreational pot in Oregon bought up baggies of bud at shops that opened early Thursday, some taking advantage of door-buster deals.
Some of the more than 250 dispensaries that already offer medical marijuana welcomed lines of enthusiasts soon after midnight — just moments after it became legal to sell to anyone who is at least 21. There were no reports of problems from early sales, although most stores planned to open at a more reasonable hour.
At Portland’s Shango Premium Cannabis, co-founder Shane McKee said the first sale to an excited customer came about a minute after midnight, with many others waiting. He called the moment significant.
“I think it’s not only historical for folks in Oregon but nationwide — anytime people start selling that as an alternative to alcohol or tobacco,” he said in a telephone interview shortly after midnight.
The first buyer at McKee’s store, Davia Fleming of Portland, said the atmosphere was upbeat for the launch of the new industry.
“It’s the end of a prohibition,” said Fleming, who uses the drug for medicinal purposes.
The store offered its first 25 customers a 35 to 40 percent discount and was handing out soda, coffee, juice and other refreshments, McKee said. Many stores in Oregon were trying to lure customers with extended hours, food giveaways and discounted marijuana.
Shoppers have one more incentive to buy early and often: Under Oregon law, pot purchases will be tax-free until January — a savings of up to 20 percent.
Store owners say they are hopeful they can avoid the shortages and price spikes that followed the start of legal sales last year in Washington and Colorado, the only other states where the drug can now be sold for recreational use. Alaska could begin retail sales next year.
One store offered a goody bag with T-shirts, but no free marijuana. Another will have a live band and 10 percent discounts. The marijuana review site Leafly will set up with food trucks at a handful of stores, giving away free meals to anyone who promotes the service on social media.
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