News Column

Wash. County Pot Shop Applications Exceed Quota

December 26, 2013

By Mike Faulk, Yakima Herald-Republic, Wash.

YAKIMA, Wash. -- If you want to legally sell marijuana in Yakima County, you're probably going to need a little luck.

With 18 retail applications received so far, the state Liquor Control Board would hold a lottery if more than the 14 allotted to Yakima County qualify for licenses.

The state received a flurry of marijuana license applications from Yakima County ahead of last Friday's deadline, and indications are the numbers will continue to grow as officials process a backlog of filings.

Six of the 18 retail applicants list addresses in the Yakima city limits, including one at the Chalet Mall at the northwest corner of Summitview and North 56th avenues.

There were 52 applications for grower licenses in Yakima County, according to the new documents. Of those, 33 had also applied for processor licenses, which accounts for every processor license in the county so far. The vast majority of proposed growing and processing locations are in unincorporated areas, which are currently under a moratorium approved by the Yakima County commissioners.

Other Yakima County cities where businesses have either applied for marijuana retail, processing or growing licenses include Union Gap, Selah, Mabton, Sunnyside and Granger.

A company listed as Green Gulch Inc., has applied for two retail licenses within Yakima city limits, including the Chalet Mall location and another spot at 6400 W. Nob Hill Blvd. The only building at that address, however, currently houses a Walgreens.

Another proposed Yakima marijuana retail store with the name MJ Sales lists the same address as Max's Bar & Grill on South Third Street. An employee there told the Yakima Herald-Republic that the owners were out of town Tuesday.

Two stores named Fire and Green Dreams applied for retail locations next to each other on South First Street near the intersection with Washington Avenue in Yakima. A third proposed First Street retail store listed its address at 512 S. First St., which currently houses a travel agency.

The Yakima City Council is expected to pass a ban on all marijuana businesses early next year. The Yakima Planning Commission has already scheduled a public hearing on the draft ordinance at its Jan. 8 meeting.

In Kittitas County there were seven applications for retail stores, 15 processor license applications and 32 producer applications. There were five applications for retail stores in Klickitat County, as well as 15 applications for processing and 24 for growing marijuana.

The number of business applications doesn't provide an indication for how many the state will approve. Each applicant is subject to a stringent investigation by state officials, including criminal backgrounds checks.

Statewide, the Liquor Control Board has received 3,746 applications to grow, process or sell cannabis under state's recreational pot law passed by voters last year.

The applications include 867 proposed retail outlets. The state is planning to cap the number of pot shops at 334 statewide, so some areas are expected to face a lottery for retail licenses.

The application window closed last week, but board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter says there is still a backlog of submissions that haven't yet been processed. He says investigators have already started reviewing applicants, and the state hopes to begin issuing licenses at the end of February.

___

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Original headline: Yakima County pot shop applications exceed quota



Source: (c)2013 Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.) Visit Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.) at www.yakima-herald.com Distributed by MCT Information Services


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