Marijuana businesses in our neighborhood? Questions and answers

With the Dec.19 deadline for marijuana license requests looming, the Washington State Liquor Control Board reports only two new applicants from the Edmonds/Lynnwood/Mountlake Terrace area. Both list Lynnwood addresses. This brings the total from our tri-city area to 19.

The passage of Initiative 502 put Washington on the leading edge of pot legalization. As with anything new, there is much to be learned and understood. Over the past few weeks questions have arisen about the different types of licenses, where proposed businesses plan to operate and what happens after a state license is granted. The following attempts to answer these questions:

1. Can a business set up shop as soon as it obtains a state license?

No. While obtaining a state license authorizes the licensee to operate a marijuana-related business in Washington state, the prospective business must still obtain a business license from the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which it plans to operate (e.g., the cities of Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace). The new business must comply with local zoning laws, restrictions on hours of operation, etc. which may go well beyond the requirements for a state license.

2. What are the different types of licenses being issued by the state, and what does each allow?

The state is accepting applications in three categories:

Producers would grow marijuana in bulk for wholesale distribution. Producers fall into three sub-categories or “tiers,” depending on the size of the proposed operation. Tier 1 (small producer) is for 2,000 square feet or less of planted area. Tier 2 (medium producer) is 2,001-10,000 square feet, and tier 3 (large producer) is 10,001 to 30,000 square feet. These could be indoor growing operations or outdoor farms.

Processors would package and/or refine this product into a form suitable for individual sale for wholesale distribution to retail stores. Note that many applicants for producer licenses are also applying for processor licenses, which would allow them to both grow and package/refine marijuana for sale to retailers.

Retailers would sell marijuana products directly to consumers. The state is limiting retail licenses to 334, including both those allocated to a particular location and “at large” licenses (see the allocation list here. The state has not set numerical limits for other types of licenses.

3. What happens after Dec.19 when the application period closes?

The Liquor Control Board will review each application. This will include background checks. The board is particularly concerned with out-of-state diversion of product, traceability of products, responsible business practices, youth access and other public and consumer safety issues. The state will also notify the various local governing authorities with jurisdiction over where the business plans to operate. The local governments would then have 20 days to respond with a recommendation to approve or to object.

For more questions and answers, check the Liquor Control Board’s FAQ here. For more detail, refer to the full 43-page rule document here.

Here are the updated application figures for our area released by the Liquor Control Board on December 10 (* indicates new applicants since last week):

Edmonds:
Producer:
Sofeea Huffman, tier 1
Torre Treece, tier 1
Processor:
Sofeea Huffman
Torre Treece
Retailer:
Slanted Eyes
Christina McCormick

Lynnwood:
Producer:
Hempalayas, tier 1
Alder Creek Green, tier 1
Kendril Marquis Harris, tier 2
Auricag, Inc., tier 3
Processor:
Hempalayas
Auricag, Inc.
Nana’s Secret*
Retailer:
420 Hash
C & C Shop
Seattle Best Pot, LLC
420 Pot Shop*

Mountlake Terrace:
Producer:
Buddha Consulting, tier 3
Processor:
Buddha Consulting

The full updated list of statewide applicants is available from the Washington State Liquor Control Board in Excel format here.

The board is accepting public comment on any proposed application. Comments should include the trade name, license number and address of the business and may be sent to:

Washington State Liquor Control Board
Licensing and Regulation
P.O. Box 43098
Olympia, WA 98504-3098

– By Larry Vogel

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