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Second pot shop opens in Seattle amid slow start to legal sales

By Victoria Cavaliere

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Seattle's second retail marijuana store opened on Monday to a long line of customers, more than a month after Washington became the second U.S. state to legalize the recreational sale of cannabis to adults.

Herbal Nation, a 750-square-foot store in the suburb of Bothell, said it waited an extra month to open to ensure it could save up enough marijuana products to meet demand.

"We didn't want to open and close because we ran out," a spokesman said.

The first Seattle store, Cannabis City, opened on July 8 when legal sales took effect, but shut its doors three days later because it ran out of stock. Cannabis City said on its website Monday that it was still out of marijuana inventory and was only selling paraphernalia.

Recreational marijuana sales in Washington have seen a much slower start than in Colorado, which has seen about 240 retail stores open their doors since recreational use was legalized on Jan. 1, according to Colorado's Department of Revenue.

Washington has so far approved 38 marijuana retail locations under a heavily regulated and taxed system that was approved by voters in 2012.

Eighteen of those stores have reported some level of marijuana sales in the past five weeks, said Brian Smith, a spokesman for the state's Liquor Control Board, which regulates the fledgling sector.

To date, 173 marijuana processors and producers have been approved to supply stock for retail sales, with many of them still in the growing phase, he said.

"Down the road there's going to be ample supply," Smith said.

Washington officials say Colorado got an early jump on recreational sales because it already had a regulated medical marijuana infrastructure in place that could be transferred to the retail sector.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Leslie Adler)

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