The lottery, a double-blind process, takes place April, 21-25 with the estimation that awarding retail licensing will start as early as July, with first stores opening soon after. The WSLCB will release licenses in batches of 10-20, starting with the more populated areas first.
For Pacific County, two retail store allocations, at large, have been authorized in the initial steps of the launch of full I-502 implementation. The Liquor Control Board currently shows that 22 applications are pending for retail licenses in Pacific County. Of those 22, some are multiple applications, 18 are from different companies. The lottery will pull only two of theses to see who will be the first in the county to have recreational marijuana available to the public.
The state has initially limited the total number to 334 recreational marijuana retail stores in Washington and looked at population and consumption levels to determine where the shops would operate. The WSLCB is expected to have a published list of the retail lottery allocations by May 2.
Based on the WSLCB total number of retail applicants, 2,181, the state opted for a lottery to determine who will get the first crack at the new recreational marijuana business. With the time-line estimated by the state, retail winners of the lottery will still have to pass final inspections prior to opening, which could push the actual opening, at least for Pacific County to August or September, unless retail businesses are ready at the time of permitting.
The bulk of the marijuana business in Pacific County looks to be in the production and processing of the product with 11 of the 27, or just slightly over 40 percent port tenants holding leases in the properties peppered between the three major parks of the Port of Willapa Harbor. They additionally report some pending land leases that may be used for outdoor production should those businesses be granted production and/or processing permits by the WSLCB.
Some recreational marijuana production and processing licenses have been issued for the State and are waiting for their first retail store customers. As of the latest published list from the WSLCB, eight producer and seven processor licenses have been approved. In some instances a combined producer/processor license has been granted as in Spokane County who has been permitted two Tier 3 production licenses who are also granted a processor license. Spokane and Spokane City will account for the possible growth or marijuana canopy, of a combined 60,000 square feet. The production will be limited to 70 percent of that capacity per producer, under current guidelines.
Tier 2 production, limited to 10,000 square feet, has been granted to Benton City, Benton County; Seattle, King County; Bremerton, Kitsap County; Shelton, Mason County; Pacific, Pierce County and a Tier 1 operation will be located in Vancouver, Clark County. All have been granted producer/processor licenses with Shelton having one additional solo producer license. A total number of 2,724 Production licenses have been applied for and 1,973 Processors. Some businesses applied multiple times, but will only be granted one license under current implantation plans.
Specific to Pacific County, 31 potential producers have applied for a total of 48 licenses and 25 processors have applied for 33. If the WSLCB is true to form and continues with their combined producer/processor licensing, the Port of Willapa Harbor and their properties could see a windfall with the new recreational marijuana business. Mixed with recreational use is that of medical and collective garden applications to support the medicinal use of marijuana that has been in existence for the past seven years in the state, but is just now starting to take a more structured form.
The hope among many in the production/processing arena is that Washington will adopt a similar format seen in Colorado, where product is grown in the back and sold in the front, a total one point operation. If nothing else, the industry is providing jobs of various types and Colorado recreational sales has provided over $14 million in first month of operation with less than 60 operational retail outlets. Under the Colorado tax breakdown that equates to an estimated $2.5 million tax boost to the states economy, from recreational sales alone in just the first 30 days.