No stores in Massachusetts yet are able to sell marijuana for recreational use, but the first could open within a few weeks. 

Voters decided to legalize the drug more than a year and a half ago. But the Cannabis Control Commission said it’s taking the time to avoid the potholes that made things bumpy for pot sales in Colorado and in Washington.

To learn more about how things are going in those states several years after they legalized the drug, we turn now to Ben Markus at Colorado Public Radio and, in Washington at public radio station KNKX, Gabriel Spitzer.

Carrie Healy, NEPR: Let’s start with the economics of marijuana. Gabriel, since adult use marijuana in Washington was legalized, have medical marijuana dispensaries continue to stay in business?

Gabriel Spitzer, KNKX: They have not. That was sort of part of the ultimate end goal of the legalization of recreational marijuana here in Washington was to eventually fold the medical marijuana system, which was sort of lightly regulated — considered kind of a gray market here, into the legalized system. So actually there’s no longer any officially recognized medical dispensaries here.

There’s a kind of special designation that certain recreational stores can get and patients are entitled to forego sales tax, which is really only a small part of the taxes that are collected on pot sales here. But essentially, the medical stores, which used to be ubiquitous here in Seattle in fact, have all but dried up now.

What did the economics of marijuana [end up being] in Colorado, Ben?

Ben Markus, Colorado Public Radio: Well, we still have many medical stores here in Colorado and that’s in part because of taxes, actually. The tax rate on medical is much lower than it is for recreational, so that market has stayed

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