OLYMPIA — Would-be marijuana entrepreneurs began Monday filing applications for state licenses to grow, process or sell recreational marijuana.
In the six hours after the state Department of Revenue's web site began taking applications, 299 had been filed online and the non-refundable fee of $250 had been paid, a spokeswoman said. The department didn't have totals available for the full day, or a count of the number of people who filed applications in person at one of its offices, Beverly Crichfield said.
Of the applications that were filed:
— 151 were for people who wanted to both grow and process marijuana
— 70 were retail applications
— 62 were processor applications
— 16 were grower applications
The department's web site, which began taking applications at 8 a.m. Tuesday for the state's 30-day window, can take applications round the clock, Crichfield said. The applications are forwarded to the state Liquor Control Board for processing and review.
Recreational marijuana was legalized for adults in Washington state by voters in the 2012 general election. State officials have been working for the last year to develop rules and regulations for the new businesses, even though marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
State officials say they expect to award licenses early next year, and state-licensed stores with marijuana grown under the new law are expected to be open by June.
The board plans to post the names of applicants starting next week, Crichfield said.