Marijuana update: State still processing backlog; list of local applicants continues to grow

New names are still being added to the growing list of marijuana-related business applicants as the Washington State Liquor Control Board digs itself out from the flood of requests. The 30-day application period closed on Dec. 20.

“It will be at least another week or two before we see daylight,” said Brian Smith, spokesperson for the Board. “We’ll continue to post weekly updates every Tuesday.”

At last count on Jan. 7, a total of 6,618 applications had been processed statewide for producer, processor and retail marijuana business licenses, up from 3,746 at the close of the application period.

Locally, there are 48 processed applicants from Lynnwood (20 producers, eight processors, 20 retailers), 11 from Mountlake Terrace (2 producers, 2 processors, 7 retailers), and 29 from Edmonds (ten producers, six processors, 13 retailers). For more detail on business names, addresses, etc., refer to the Liquor Control Board’s latest list, available in Excel format here.

While the State has set no limits on producer (i.e., grower) and processor licenses, it has constrained the number of retail outlets, allocating them to local jurisdictions based on several factors including population, density, and other demographic measures. Allocations for Lynnwood and Edmonds allow two retail outlets each. Mountlake Terrace gets one. To get one of these licenses, retail pot business applications will be first subjected to a rigorous state-level review process. If after the review the number of potential licensees exceeds the allocation number, the State will hold a lottery to determine who gets a license.

As part of the review process, the State is requesting input from local governments on applicants from their areas of jurisdiction. Local jurisdictions have 20 days to respond with comments, and these will be considered by the State to help determine which applications are approved or denied.

“We are sending out letters to local governments as we process applications,” said Smith. But with State efforts focused on processing the application backlog, these notifications are taking longer than anticipated.

According to Rob Chave, Director of Development Services for the City of Edmonds, no notifications have yet been received.

Last year the Edmonds City Council passed a moratorium on issuing licenses for marijuana-related businesses to give it more time to study the issue and put in place appropriate zoning and other rules governing how these would operate. This moratorium expires February 20.

The Planning Board will be taking up this issue in early February. According to Chave, depending on the outcome “the City Council may extend its moratorium for a brief period beyond Feb. 20.”

— By Larry Vogel

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