State trying to avoid empty shelves when pot goes on sale

SEATTLE -- In an attempt to avoid an embarrassing situation of having no marijuana on store shelves, the Washington State Liquor Control Board will begin issuing final licenses to retail marijuana shops via email at 1 a.m. Monday morning.

It's a move that could ease nervous retail shop owners and marijuana processors who had complained the required 24 quarantine on marijuana orders could create a situation where shops statewide could open at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning -- when they're legally allowed -- without any product to sell.

WSLCB spokesman Brian Smith says shop owners who have paid their fees and have all the necessary paperwork filed correctly could see their license emailed to them.

Before a retail shop can order marijuana products from a licensed process, it needs to have a license in hand. Then a retailer can legally contact a processor and place the order.

As soon as the processor receives the order, they must hold the order in quarantine at their facility so inspectors from WSLCB can inspect it's validity if necessary.

By law, only the processor can deliver the order to the retail via routes designated by the state. Once the product is delivered, the retail store must verify the order is correct and enter that information into the state's tracking system.

Only then can the retailer sell the marijuana to the public. Adults 21 and over with a legal ID are allowed to buy up to one ounce.

Sales are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning at and estimated 15 to 20 shops the state says are eligible to receive a license. A spokesman for Analytical 360, a licensed testing facility for marijuana, estimates 500 pounds statewide could be available for sale on Tuesday.