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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Pot applications continue to pour in

Applications for marijuana stores in Spokane County

OLYMPIA -- Washington has many times more people who want to sell or grow marijuana that the state will allow, and all the applications have yet to be processed.

The Washington Liquor Control Board today released the names and addresses of some 6,600 businesses that have applied for licenses to produce, process or sell recreational marijuana under the law voters passed in November 2012.

The 2,035 applications for retail marijuana stores is about six times more than the 334 retail licenses that board said will be approved for Washington. After all of the applications are examined to make sure they comply with rules for obtaining any required local permits and have locations that are at least 1,000 feet from schools, parks, playgrounds or other areas mainly for children, the board will hold a lottery in each county or city that has more applications than the number allocated.

The Spokane area has nearly eight times more requests for retail licenses than the 18 allocated. Under board rules, the city of Spokane can have eight marijuana stores, the city of Spokane Valley can have three and all other areas of the county can have seven. 

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Applications for marijuana growing licenses in Spokane County

The state could also have 20 times more requests for land to grow marijuana than the board will initially allow.

The Liquor Control Board said it would allow up to 2 million square feet of land to be planted to marijuana in an effort to supply the first stores. It also set up three levels of licenses for growers to request: up to 2,000 square feet; from 2,000 to 10,000 square feet; and from 10,000 to 30,000 square feet.

Each applicant is required to estimate how much of the allotted land would be planted, and can list less than the maximum, but if all producers planted to the maximum space their license would allow, the state would have more than 42 million square feet producing marijuana this year.

Spokane County alone has 228 applications to grow marijuana. If all were granted and planted to the highest amount available on the levels on the applications, it would total more than 3.8 million square feet -- almost twice the amount of land allotted for the entire state.

Like the retail applications, the Liquor Board must review all producer applications to determine the actual number each plans to grow, board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter said. No company can have more than three producer licenses and some company names and business license numbers suggest some applicants may be over that limit. 

The board can restrict the amount winning licensees can plant to keep the total to 2 million square feet, Carpenter said.

Although the last day to apply for a license to grow, process or sell recreational marijuana in Washington was Dec. 20, the state Department of Revenue and the Liquor Board are still processing some applications, Carpenter said. Grower licenses will be awarded first, in late February or early March. Retail stores are expected to open in late spring or early summer.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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