On Wednesday the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which is in charge of implementation, announced it was going to use a lottery to determine which companies will get the limited number of retail store licenses. The lottery will take place April 21-25, 2014 and the agency now expects it will begin issuing retail licenses no later than the first week of July. The first stores should begin selling marijuana to legal adults relatively soon after receiving their licenses.
The WSLCB is limiting the state to only 334 stores, with a set number of stores in each county. Last month the WSLCB predicted the first stores would be open in June, but handling the applications is taking longer than expected pushing “opening day” to July.
Retail marijuana stores have been open in Colorado since January, but Colorado had the advantage of being able to simply transition already heavily regulated medical marijuana dispensaries into recreational marijuana stores.
Hopefully, this summer we should see the first recreational marijuana purchase in Washington.
Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy
Photo by Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance used with permission