State to further limit marijuana production licenses

Stephen Floyd

The Washington Liquor Control Board (LCB) has announced they will be further limiting their approval of recreational marijuana production licenses due to the significant volume of applications they have received.

Rather than allow up to three production licenses for one entity, which had been part of the guidelines approved in November, LCB said they will allow no more than one license per entity in order to steadily establish legalized marijuana as an industry.

"We believe this is the most fair and equitable way to get the market up and running," said LCB Chair Sharon Foster in a Feb. 19 news release, which went on to state the policy change is in effect immediately and is expected to be followed by the approval of licenses in the coming weeks.

When establishing rules for recreational marijuana businesses last year, LCB included a provision where they could amend licensing policies if the volume of applications asked for more than two million square feet of production space. The release said the number of applications received between Nov. 18 and Dec. 20 "far exceeds" two million square feet, and it has been decided the board will exercise their option to limit application approval.

Those who have applied for more than one production license will be offered an option to have their excess applications withdrawn and their application fees refunded, or have their excess applications held for one year until the next round of licensing takes place in 2015.

The only applicants in the local area asking for more than one production license had been Atlas LLC, owned by Brandon Milton, and affiliated company Green Freedom LLC, owned by Justin Wildhaber. Both had applied for three production license allowing up to 2 acres of marijuana each on industrial land owned by Milton in Vader.

According to a Feb. 19 LCB report, only Milton’s applications were still considered active of the two. Additionally, two separate applications for one production license at Milton’s property remain active under Wagrown, owned by Samir Breko, and Adan Farms, owned by Jeff Carr.

However, a ban in Vader is currently preventing the establishment of such businesses and, while LCB stated in their Feb. 19 release they will still be issuing licenses in spite of local bans to those who qualify, they said the possession of a state license will not supersede city or county ordinances against recreational marijuana.