OLYMPIA — Spokane will likely have three legal pot stores up and running in early July when Washington’s first retail marijuana outlets open, which will be three times as many as Seattle.
Potential licensees who won a lottery for the chance to open a store in the state’s largest city are lagging behind other locales in completing the steps required to open, and only one is ready for a final inspection, the Liquor Control Board was told today. Three licensees in Spokane are ready for their final inspections, four in Tacoma, three in Vancouver and three in Bellingham, according to information provided the board. Two other stores in King County — one store in Bellevue and another in Des Moines — are also on the list of 20 stores expected to be among the first licenses issued on July 7, as are applicants in smaller towns like Union Gap and Benge.
Those stores would be able to open as early as 8 a.m. the next day. More stores will get final inspections, be issued licenses and be allowed to open later in July.
Washington will almost certainly have stores spread around more of the state than Colorado did when its first stores opened at the beginning of the year and the stores were concentrated in Denver, Chris Marr, a board commissioner, said.
The higher costs of opening a store in Seattle may be making it harder for potential store owners to find a location and financing to get the required equipment needed to pass inspection, Marr said. The liquor board received 198 applications for the 21 licenses set aside for Seattle, and it’s possible some applicants weren’t prepared when they were drawn.