Retail marijuana license lottery announced for this month
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Liquor Control Board have approved a lottery that will select the applicants for marijuana retail licenses that may move forward. The independent, double-blind process will take place April 21-25, and will produce a list of applicants that the agency will use to continue its retail licensing process. The agency expects to begin issuing retail licenses no later than the first week of July.
Initiative 502 directed the WSLCB to limit the number of marijuana retail stores by county.
In its rules, the WSLCB limited the number of stores statewide to 334. The most populated cities within each county are allotted a maximum number of stores with the remainder at large within the county.
Grays Harbor is allowed 6 retail locations total; 1 in Aberdeen, 1 in Hoquiam, 1 in Ocean Shores, and 3 others in other areas. Only 2 stores are allowed in Pacific County.
The rules state that if the WSLCB receives more applications for a jurisdiction than there are stores allocated the state would use a lottery process for producing a ranked order of applicants.
Both counties have 25 applications pending according to the WSLCB. At least half of the locations listed for Grays Harbor have either backed out, are under citywide blockages, or have addresses within 1000 feet of a park.
Being identified as the apparent successful applicant is not a guarantee that the selected applicant will receive a license. There are multiple requirements for licensure such as the applicant must pass a criminal history and financial investigation as well as have a location that is not within 1,000 feet of a school, park or other area specified by Initiative 502 as places where children congregate.
The WSLCB began pre-qualifying applicants for the lottery the weekend of Feb. 21-23. WSLCB licensing staff is currently reviewing pre-qualifying packets.
Initial estimates of returned packets show that despite repeated notices and reminders to applicants, roughly 25 percent did not return the required documents at all. Of the returned packets, anywhere between 20-50 percent are incomplete, thus disqualifying them from the retail lottery.
The WSLCB is expected to post the ordered list of applicants for each jurisdiction in the public records section of the agency website on May 2, 2014.