Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Washington to get 334 marijuana stores, 18 in Spokane County

Posted By on Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 1:01 PM

The Washington State Liquor Control Board has released its latest take on rules for the state's new recreational marijuana market, with new limits on production and specifics about how many stores it plans to license.

According to the proposed rules, which won't be finalized until after a public hearings and a board vote next month, 334 total retail marijuana stores will be allowed across the state, distributed based on population and consumption data (how much pot people use in each area). Spokane County will be allowed 18, with eight in the City of Spokane, three in the Valley and the rest in the county "at large." (For comparison, King County will be allowed the most at 61, while Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Wahkiakum Counties get one each.)

The news comes after a delay in approving the rules to make changes and an assurance from the federal government that they wouldn't sue Washington and Colorado to stop their recreational pot rule-making. If the board approves these rules next month, a 30-day application window will open on Nov. 18 and licenses will be issued late this year or in early 2014, meaning pot stores could be open by next summer.

While there will be no limit on how many growers and processors will be licensed under the new rules in Washington, there will be a cap on how much marijuana can be produced in total statewide: 40 metric tons.

The state will also limit each person or company getting licenses to three producer or processor licenses and three retail licenses. (Throughout the public comment period, board members say, many people worried the state could see corporate, Walmart-like mass production and monopoly.)

The board says the changes, which also include limits on how much marijuana a grower, processor or seller can have on site, are in response to public feedback. Here's the full list of those changes followed by the rules as they stand now:

Changes in proposed rules compared to those submitted July 3:

 Full proposed rules:

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About The Author

Heidi Groover

Heidi Groover is a staff writer at the Inlander, where she covers city government and drug policy. On the job, she's spent time with prostitutes, "street kids," marriage equality advocates and the family of a 16-year-old organ donor...