Oregon marijuana shops began selling marijuana Thursday for the first time to recreational users, marking a big day for the budding pot industry. Some of the more than 250 dispensaries that already offer medical marijuana in Oregon opened their doors soon after midnight—just moments after it became legal to sell to anyone who is at least 21. At Portland's Shango Premium Cannabis, co-founder Shane McKee says the first sale to an excited customer came about a minute after midnight, with many others waiting. "It looks like there [are] about 60-70 in line out front," he told the AP shortly after midnight. "They all seem extremely eager." That first buyer says she was excited about "the end of a prohibition."
Store owners say they're hopeful they can avoid the shortages and price spikes that followed the start of legal sales last year in Washington and Colorado, the only other states where the drug can now be sold for recreational use. Many stores in Oregon were trying to lure customers with extended hours, food giveaways, and discounted marijuana. McKee says his store offered its first 25 customers a 35% to 40% discount. But he also pointed to what he considered the significance of the moment, noting, "I think it's not only historical for folks in Oregon but nationwide—anytime people start selling that as an alternative to alcohol or tobacco." Shoppers have one more incentive to buy early and often: Under Oregon law, pot purchases will be tax-free until January—a savings of up to 20%. (Read more Oregon stories.)