Marijuana could be sold in stores by next summer; 10 Peninsula firms apply

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Marijuana could be sold at a store near you by next summer, a state Liquor Control Board spokesman predicted Tuesday.

Entrepreneurs from Clallam and Jefferson counties have applied so far to make marijuana available to residents 21 and older under the voter-approved Initiative 502, which legalized the recreational use of pot last year.

Eighteen applications — dealing with growing, processing or selling marijuana — from 10 North Olympic Peninsula businesses have been received by the state Liquor Control Board, according to a list of applicants the agency made available to the public Tuesday.

Marijuana license applicants are submitting paperwork to grow pot, process it, grow and process it, or sell it.

The state agency is in charge of evaluating applicants and awarding licenses.

“In late February or March, we believe we will be issuing licenses,” agency spokesman Brian Smith said Tuesday.

“Stores could be opening as early as late May or June.”

The same businesses are not allowed to grow and sell marijuana, or process and sell it.

“Retailers have to be separate from the other two license tiers,” agency spokesman Mikhail Carpenter said Tuesday.

Tuesday was the first day the state released a list of applicants, who can apply until 5 p.m. Dec. 19. Names of business applicants will be released each Tuesday, the state said.

From Nov. 20 through Tuesday morning, the agency had received 929 marijuana applications statewide: 444 for producing, 327 for processing and 158 for retailing, Smith said.

Here's a rundown of the applicants so far from Clallam and Jefferson counties as of Tuesday:

Clallam County

■   Marijuana producer applications from Clallam County were submitted by Peninsula Cannabis, 3368 E. U.S. Highway 101, Port Angeles, and Tropic Grow, 1430 Marine Drive, Sequim, both of which also submitted processor applications.

■   Peninsula Cannabis and Tropic Grow also submitted applications to process marijuana.

■   Green Orchard, 333-A E. First St., Port Angeles, submitted three retailer applications to sell marijuana, while Weeds, 1200 W. Washington St., No. 105, Sequim, submitted a single marijuana retailer application.

Jefferson County

■   Producer applications from Jefferson County were submitted by Aunti Onolicious, 123 Black Bear Road, Port Townsend, and from three businesses in Chimacum: Gentlebear Gardens, 10492 Rhody Drive; Gnarley Dog Farm, 480 Larson Lake Road; and Jodi Lynn Holt, 5030 Eaglemount Road.

■   All four producers applicants also submitted processor applications.

■   Fiddler's Green LLC, 1291 Chimacum Road, Chimacum, and Pot Stop, 91 Corey St., Brinnon, submitted applications to sell marijuana.

A marijuana license is an endorsement on an existing business license.

The owners of companies that submitted applications were not identified in the list of businesses that the agency made available online at www.liq.wa.gov, where information on submitting applications also is available.

The agency did not respond to a Peninsula Daily News public records request for the owners' names, but Carpenter said the agency was processing several such requests Tuesday.

There is no limit on the number of growers and processors, Smith said.

State officials have said they intend to cap the number of retailers at 334 statewide.

Clallam County will be allowed six retail outlets: two in the city of Port Angeles, one in the city of Sequim and three others anywhere else in the county.

“We want to get as much coverage as possible,” Carpenter said.

Jefferson County will be allowed four retail outlets: one in the city of Port Townsend and three anywhere else in the county.

“If we have more retail applications in a given location than we have allotted, we will hold a lottery,” Smith said.

State licensing applications are first processed by the state Department of Revenue, which routes them to the appropriate agency.

“The specialty, in our case, is marijuana,” Smith said.

Marijuana retailers cannot conduct business within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, libraries — “places where kids congregate, and we verify that,” Smith said.

Local officials will be able to comment on the stores' placement.

Applicants, who must go through state and FBI criminal background checks, cannot have had felony convictions within the past 10 years.

Convicted felons whose crimes were more than a decade ago can apply, but licenses are awarded based on a point system that includes points for criminal history and nondisclosure of that history.

Applicants also must identify sources of financing and “true parties of interest,” Smith said.

The point totals that are key to the application process “will push a lot of people out,” he predicted.

“We are not placing a value judgment; we are establishing a threshold.

“If you meet that threshold, you are eligible for a license.

“We want people that are going to be responsible business owners.”

If grower and processor applicants “proceed through the 30-day window and meet our thresholds, they are likely to get a license,” Smith added.

Marijuana store customers will have to be at least 21 years old and must present an ID.

At the marijuana retail stores, patrons will be able to buy up to an ounce of usable marijuana; 16 ounces of marijuana-infused food in solid form, such as brownies; and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquid, such as juice or soda.

Possession of marijuana remains a federal crime, but medicinal marijuana, legal in Washington state, is largely unregulated, Smith said.

“At the state level, the federal government weighed in and gave us its enforcement guidelines” to enact I-502, Smith said.

“Washington has created a tightly regulated system, which was necessary for legal marijuana to proceed in Washington.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 26. 2013 6:24PM
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