Rocky Start For WA Legal Pot: Lottery Leads To Only One Seattle Store


More than two months after the first state-licensed marijuana stores opened in Washington state, only one is selling pot in Seattle, and it might be weeks before another opens, says the Seattle Times. In Bellingham, a city of 82,000, four stores have opened. The newspaper cites unprepared applicants, difficulties for some entrepreneurs in finding legal locations for their stores and issues with city permitting, among the myriad problems.

Seattle's first store hasn't yet been able to bypass the red tape. Cannabis City is lacking permits to operate legally. Without much marijuana available to sell, potential store owners say there's little incentive to move quickly. Many of the delays stem from the state's retail marijuana lottery. In April, the Liquor Control Board held a drawing to determine who could operate Washington's 334 potential pot shops. The board chose 21 applicants at random for Seattle, of the 191 who applied. The lottery was not merit-based. To qualify, applicants had to show they had the right to property suitable for selling pot under state law, but they did not have to prove their financial means or business capabilities. In some cases, lottery winners either weren't interested or capable of opening a store, Liquor Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter said.

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