(AP) As Washington state readied to become only the second state to allow people to buy marijuana legally without a doctor's note, lines were already forming in front of the lucky few stores that got last-minute approval to sell.
The start of legal pot sales in Washington Tuesday marks a major step that's been 20 months in the making. Washington and Colorado stunned much of the world by voting in November 2012 to legalize marijuana for adults over 21, and to create state-licensed systems for growing, selling and taxing the pot. Sales began in Colorado on Jan. 1.
The drug isn't expected to be available for at least 19 months while the state works out regulations, grows product, and licenses 5 specific providers who will sell at no more than 20 locations statewide.
But marketing abhors a vacuum and some groups have already started to advertise online services that will try to hook you up with a prescription.
Here's an excerpt from MarijuanaDoctors.com , which says it will arrange appointments with local doctors, and discuss options with you if you don't have a qualifying condition:
The Cannabis Career Institute has been sponsoring classes across the country, and has scheduled a $300 seminar in Cheektowaga at the Hilton Garden Inn on Aug. 10. Online they also offer videos. From their website, here's a sampling of what they sell:
The Marijuana Debate | Survey: Doctors Support Medical Marijuana
Exclusive WBEN Audio:
Click to Listen
Wendy Conte, OP Mom Advovates for Medical Marijuana
WNY entrepreneur Dan Humiston, Pres., International Cannabis Assoc.
"Registry Identification Cards will be issued by DOH to certified patients. The card will contain any recommendation or limitation on form or dosage imposed by the practitioner as well as other information. The Department will be able to suspend or revoke the card of a patient who willfully violates any provision of the new law.," according to a statement from the governor's office.
The department will also supervise doctors, and register 5 providers statewide to open no more than 4 dispensaries each,
To minimize the possibility of recreational use, the law allows only extracts, oils or vapors, and does not provide for any marijuana sale in smokeable form. It allows the State Police or Health Department to call for an end to the progam if there are unforeseen abuses.
During his remarks before a ceremonial bill signing Monday, Cuomo emphasized the balance between using marijuana for medical benefit, while recognizing that there are broader public health and safety issues.
Before Cuomo signed his medical marijuana bill in a public ceremony Monday, he called upon Maryanne Houser, the mother of a Amanda, a 10-year-old epilepsy sufferer who would benefit from the effort.