Backlog in applications means Wash. pot sales won't start until June



Posted on December 31, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 31 at 6:40 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.—2014 brings a big business change in Washington State. People will be able to buy marijuana from retail stores.

The State Liquor Control Board was working through a backlog of business applications at the end of 2013. A spokesman said it would likely be halfway through 2014 before businesses will start selling marijuana.

Applicants were given a 30 day window to apply if they wanted to produce, process or sell marijuana.

The board received nearly 5,000 applications statewide. That number is sure to rise as the board works through their application backlog.

The majority of the applications were for growing and processing marijuana. The state planned to grant as many of those as meet the requirements.

The state will only grant retail licenses to 334 applicants statewide. Nearly four times that number applied.

There were more than 91 retail applications in Spokane County turned in. Only 18 of those will be granted. The state will hold a lottery to determine which qualified applicants will get the licenses in counties where the demand exceeds the licenses. The specifics on how the lottery will work had not yet been determined at the end of December.

The Liquor Control Board had yet to grant any applications by New Year’s Eve. A spokesman said the processing takes about 90 days on average. It will likely be late February at the earliest before any marijuana licenses are issued.

Growers are not allowed to start growing until it is legal and growing takes time. With that thinking in mind, the Stare estimates it will be May or June before marijuana will be up for sale on store shelves in the state of Washington.

The addresses applying to sell pot are public record.

In Spokane, North Division is the most popular location for the proposed pot shops. Ten separate addressed requested retail licenses there and four of those addressed had multiple applications asking for one.

Other popular Spokane locations included Francis, Market and Sprague.

The State will only issue eight retail licenses within the City of Spokane.

Spokane Valley will get three retail licenses. 22 addresses there are asking for one. The bulk of those are along Sprague Avenue, with spots on Argonne, Pines, Appleway and Trent.

The applicants with addresses across the rest of Spokane County are the ones who look to have the best chances of getting a license, according to officials.

The State designated seven retail licenses for the areas outside of Spokane and Spokane Valley.
Only seven applications were turned in by New Year’s Eve for portions of Spokane County like Airway Heights, Liberty Lake, Millwood, Cheney and Newman Lake.

The State Liquor Control Board expects several applications will be ruled out because they are asking for addresses in areas not zoned for retail purposes.