Washington state issued its first retail marijuana licenses on Monday. The state's Liquor Control Board notified two dozen stores so they could prepare before they are allowed to open their doors at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Eventually, more than 300 recreational pot shops are expected to open across the state.
Back in November of 2012, residents of Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over, as well as for the creation of state-licensing systems for growing, selling and taxing the pot. In Colorado, sales began on January 1.
Pot prices in Washington are expected to reach at least $25 a gram on the first day of sales. Orders from retailers to the state's first licensed growers have already rushed in, and many are predicting shortages.
ALSO READ: States That Drink the Most Beer
Cannabis has been legalized for medical use in 20 states, and perhaps the most prominent play in this growing field for stock investors is GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (GWPH), a biopharmaceutical company engaged in discovering, developing and commercializing cannabinoid prescription medicines.
Piper Jaffray recently increased its price target to $147 from $97, based on an evaluation of the U.K.-based company's cannabinoid-based epilepsy treatment, Epidolex. The consensus price target is $110. Shares ended last week at $103.57, in a 52-week range of $8.50 to $111.46, but retreated, along with the broader markets, about 1% Monday morning.
That 52-week high was hit last week, and GW Pharmaceuticals shares have pulled back more than 8% since then.