Politics 

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Washington Will Be Issuing New Retail Cannabis Licenses

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Control Board (WSLCB) released new draft rules and regulations for the process of aligning Washington’s medical marijuana market with the established recreational market.

The WSLCB will begin accepting new retail cannabis license applications on October 12, 2015. There are three tiers of criteria for those who will be first in line to receive licenses:

  1. First priority will be applicants who applied for a marijuana retail license prior to July 1, 2014, operated (or were employed by) a collective garden prior to January 1, 2013, have maintained a state and local business license, and have a history of paying state taxes.
  2. Second priority will be applicants who operated (or were employed by) a collective garden prior to January 1, 2013, have maintained a state and local business license, and have a history of paying state taxes and fees.
  3. Third priority will be applicants who do not meet the requirements for priority one or priority two.

The best news to come out of this announcement is that, unlike the last lottery held for a limited number of retail licenses, there will not be an initial cap on the number of licenses issued.

The Board will be holding hearings all through November to receive comments from the public on the draft rules at the following times and locations:

 

Event

Date/Time

Location

Spokane

November 3/6:30 – 8:30PM

Spokane Convention Center

Ellensburg

November 4/ 6:30 – 8:30PM

Central Washington University

Vancouver

November 9/ 6:30 – 8:30PM

Clark College/Gaiser Student Center

Tacoma

November 12 / 6:30 -8:30PM

Best Western Hotel/Seahawk Room

Seattle

November 16 / 6:30 – 8:30PM

Seattle City Hall/Bertha Knight Landis Room

Everett

November 19 / 6:30-8:30PM

Everett Comm. College/Jackson Conference Center

 

Washington state medical marijuana dispensaries have been in legal limbo after Senate Bill 5052, known as the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee in April. All medical marijuana dispensaries must have a license to operate by July 1, 2016 or face closure by local authorities.

The WSLCB also updated a previous restriction on licensed producers. Before, existing producers could grow at 70 percent capacity, but the new action will allow producers to grow to the full 100 percent of their capacity. The restriction was in place to help prevent overproduction and to keep products from crossing state lines. However, the restriction has been eased to allow producers to meet the demand that will inevitably arise with the issue of new retail licenses, although there will likely be a cap on the production and number of licenses once the medical and recreational cannabis markets come into full alignment.