By Ricardo Baca

Dear Washington.

You made it! July 8 marks your very first day of legal recreational marijuana sales. It was a long road here for all parties involved, but now it’s time to sit back, hope for the best and watch it all happen.

We in Colorado did this very same thing in January -- although we did it a bit differently. The Colorado and Washington legalization models are very different, but Colorado began its legal sales blindly, with no other states in the union to learn from. Has Washington learned from Colorado’s mistakes and successes and Maureen Dowds? Surely the governments and industries have shared plenty, and hopefully it will make for a smooth transition.

But there’s also the lessons the public has to learn on its own. Sure, they might have seen video footage of the 300-people-deep lines stretching around Colorado pot shops on Jan. 1 or read about the wildly inconsistent levels of activated THC in Colorado’s marijuana-infused edibles. But some things must be learned first-hand, and this is a friendly note that might help that acclimation process.

1. “My, those are long lines”: Yes, there will be lines, and those lines will be hours-long. If you need to own (and possibly frame) a receipt stamped “July 8″ bring your Kindle, comfortable shoes and a desire to meet new friends. If you can wait a few days for your first legal recreational purchase, do. The lines will start getting shorter and shorter immediately. Within a week or two you’ll be able to pop in for an eighth on your lunch hour. Within a month or two the lines will be contained inside the store.

Want to read more? Visit The Cannabist.