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Grand Opening at Cannabis City

Employees stock shelves at Cannabis City before their "high noon" grand opening during the first day of legal retail marijuana sales in Seattle, Washington.

Grand Opening at Cannabis City

Washington became the second U.S. state to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use on Tuesday, although shortages and high prices are likely to accompany any euphoria.

Shops started to open today, a day after 25 outlets were issued licenses under a heavily regulated and taxed system approved by voters in November 2012.

The nation, and the federal government, will be watching Washington's rollout as a broader trend of liberalization and pro-pot activism takes hold in the United States. . State regulators are still processing more than 300 license applications.

While Colorado has been raking in millions of dollars a month in tax since rolling out regulated retail sales in January, Washington has charted a glacial path to market.

Reporting by Eric M Johnson, REUTERS.