Liquor Control Board Issues First Marijuana Retailer Licenses

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) today issued the state’s first 24 marijuana retailer licenses.  Two applicants in our area received new retail licenses.  They are:

- Altitude, 260 Merlot Drive, Prosser

- Verde Valley, 4007 Main Street, Union Gap

The 24 applicants were notified via email early this morning that they were approved for a retail license. Once approved for a license, producers and/or processors are able to file a required manifest for transporting to retail locations. Following a 24 hour quarantine period, they may begin transporting products to retail stores. Marijuana retailers may begin selling marijuana at their discretion following receipt of product and entering it in to the traceability system.

Businesses receiving their licenses today represent the first of 334 licenses allotted by the WSLCB for retail sales who have successfully completed the licensing process. Locations receiving licenses were selected by taking into account population, geographic dispersion and the individual applicant’s readiness to be licensed.

Today’s issuance of the first retail licenses represents the latest step following nearly 18 months of establishing a tightly controlled and comprehensive system of producing, processing and retailing recreational marijuana. Highlights include:

  • · Crafting the rules governing Washington’s recreational marijuana system;
  • · Establishing a traceability system for tracking marijuana products from production to retail;
  • · Establishing a system and certification requirements for laboratories and testing procedures for labs testing recreational marijuana;
  • · Building and training marijuana licensing, enforcement and financial teams for administering and enforcing the law;
  • · Conducting thorough criminal and financial investigations of all license types;
  • · Developing a process for a third-party to conduct a double-blind lottery for establishing an ordered list of retail license applicants; and
  • · Actively working with industry members, public agencies and community organizations to further public and consumer safety education.

The WSLCB was especially concerned with the impact to children. There are strict rules regarding packaging, labeling and advertising to ensure they not appeal to children. In June, the LCB announced emergency rules that include a label and product approval process.

WSLCB licensing investigators will continue to issue producer, processor and retailer licenses as those applications are completed. To date the WSLCB has licensed over 687,000 square feet of plant canopy for marijuana production, roughly the equivalent of a dozen football fields.