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First marijuana stores opening in Washington

Washington State's first two dozen approved retail marijuana stores include two outlets in Bellingham and others in communities just south of the Okanagan.

The state approved the licenses overnight and several operators vowed to open their doors Tuesday.

"We're opening tomorrow at 8 o'clock," Tom Beckley said Monday. "We've secured 20 pounds plus."

He's the owner of Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham and the electrician joins the ranks of a new class of marijuana entrepreneurs since the state legalized recreational use of the drug and adult possession of small quantities in 2012.

But there are growing pains.

Approved producers of cannabis in the state have been slow to get enough product grown and ready for market, so the supply shortage has meant higher-than-expected prices as stores open.

Beckley predicts most stores will charge $15 to $20 a gram – more than double the prices in B.C. pot dispensaries.

"After a few months I think the prices will come back down when more growers come on line."

Beckley planned to charge $10 a gram for his first customers on the basis that a lower introductory price would be "good for the state" on the first day of retail pot operations.

No Blaine or Point Roberts applicants were approved in the initial announcement, but more are expected to get the green light from the state's liquor control board.

Other approved stores are in the Everett area.

There are two more further east in Winthrop and Okanogan and two more in Spokane.

B.C. marijuana advocates have said the price of pot in the province has been declining as Americans gain easier access to the drug at home.

Mobile users click here for map of newly approved Washington marijuana stores

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