BELLEVUE, Washington — It has been a long time coming since Washington voters approved I-502 legalizing recreational marijuana, but Tuesday is the big day.
While Dave Hart has no problem with pot shops opening in his Bellevue neighborhood, he does have concerns about edible marijuana snacks.
“As far as smoking it, I really don’t have an opinion. If they’re going to do that, they’re going to do it anyway.”
But as far as edible marijuana treats, he added, “I think that would be made available to kids in one form or another, whether intentionally, unintentionally or on purpose,” Hart said.
Green Theory, located at Main Street and 106th Avenue, plans to sell marijuana and marijuana-infused snacks, although edibles have not been approved for sale yet by the state Liquor Control Board.
Across the street, another shop, Greenside, has yet to clarify its business model.
Still, retired California police officer David Watson is worried.
He moved his family to Bellevue a year ago.
He remembers what the explosion of medical marijuana did in his home state.
“A lot of crimes go up because of those types of issues. People growing inside their house, then what’s common down there is a lot of people start robbing individuals, a lot of home invasions go up so crime did go up in California because of that issue,” Watson said.
“We don`t want kids to have access. It`s 21 and over and we`re ensuring the staff here knows that and some issues we`ve run into with the alcohol industry with fake identification,” Washington Liquor Control Board member Dan Turner said.
But that may not be enough.
Student David Watson Jr. said that, as they always with alcohol, kids will find a way to get marijuana.
“You can get it from anywhere really. There’s a black market you can get it from. That’s where all my friends get it from,” Watson, Jr. said.
The state will track all sales through ‘Green Bits’. It’s a bar code scanning system designed specifically for the retail marijuana market.
“All inventory coming into the store will come in through our system, we make it easy for all the bud tenders to ring up marijuana and paraphernalia and report to the state real time to make sure the store stays in compliance,” Green Bits founder Ben Curren said.
The state says buying marijuana will be as safe as buying alcohol and any kinks in the system will be worked out as time passes and everyone gets a little more experienced.