Want Legal Weed in Washington? Get Ready to Pay Top Dollar.

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 29 2014 2:19 PM

Want Legal Weed in Washington? Get Ready to Pay Top Dollar.

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A budtender pours marijuana from a jar at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, California

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

As the first stores that will sell marijuana in Washington state get ready to open, there’s one tiny issue that should be worrying those eager to smoke legal bud: there’s almost no weed. The Associated Press talks to a liquor control board official who says that so far shortages seem inevitable. Only two licensed growers have submitted samples to the sole lab that has been certified to test the legal marijuana and they represent a maximum harvest of 190 pounds.

The growers that have managed to get ahead of the game are taking advantage of the situation. One says it has managed to sell most of its harvest for $4,000 a pound, meaning almost $9 per gram—and that’s before counting the mark-up of the retailer and all the taxes. Unlicensed medical dispensaries sell weed for $8 to $12 per gram.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.