Pot license applications slow; Whatcom County still at 309

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 21, 2014 

Applications for licenses to grow, process and sell recreational marijuana in Washington state have slowed to a trickle - four weeks after the application window closed.

Dec. 20 was the deadline for pot entrepreneurs to apply for a license for Washington's newest industry since state voters legalized marijuana for recreational use in the November 2012 election.

The state Liquor Control Board has been working through a backlog of applications.

"We're still processing them," board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter said Tuesday, Jan. 21, after the agency released the most recent numbers showing that applications statewide hit 7,044.

That's just 28 more than the previous week.

Meanwhile, applications for would-be Whatcom County pot businesses remained unchanged at 309.

Carpenter didn't know Tuesday whether this week's numbers were the last of the applications.

"As soon as we know the list is finalized we'll let everyone know," he said.

Investigators already have started reviewing applicants, and the liquor board plans to issue growing and processing licenses in late February and early March.

Licenses for stores will be issued later, with expected opening dates in June.

Not all applicants will get a license.

Applicants must undergo background checks, be residents of Washington for at least three months prior to the filing date, and have their business areas inspected by the state.

The state also will investigate funding sources for the prospective businesses and who is connected to the licenses as well as make sure that proposed locations meet the 1,000-foot buffer required between schools, libraries, transit centers and other places where young people gather.

MAP OF MARIJUANA BUSINESS APPLICATIONS

Note: These are only proposed locations. Many are expected to get rejected by the state Liquor Control Board. To view a larger map, click on the icon in the upper right corner.

—Darker green data points mean details about the proposed business were released in the past week.

—Pins represent would-be growers.

—Circles represent would-be processors.

—Orange buildings represent would-be retailers.

To see a larger map, click here.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com .

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