OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington state will hold lotteries this month for its coveted legal marijuana retail licenses.
The state Liquor Control Board on Wednesday adopted a plan for the lotteries, which will be held for any cities or counties where there are more pot-shop applicants than licenses allotted.
The board says the lotteries, to be held April 21-25, will be double-blind to ensure security, and the board itself will play no role in picking winners. Instead, a random order will be generated by Washington State University, with the assistance of the accounting firm for the Washington Lottery.
The winners will be given priority in the issuance of licenses, but they'll still have to pass financial investigations and meet other requirements before the board actually issues any licenses. The first retail sales are expected to begin in July.
Originally more than 2100 people filed for the state's 334 retail licenses.
Wednesday the Liquor Control Board said as many as half of the applicants were no longer being considered.
Hundreds failed to properly submit required paperwork.
Courtney Slater, who owns Tacoma's "Left Coast Cannabis", applied for licenses to open stores in Tacoma, Renton and Kent.
"All I can do is wait," said Slater.
Slater said if he gets a license for a store in Tacoma he will be able to shutdown his medical store and turn it into a recreational shop in about a week.
"Everything's already in place," said Slater, "It's just a matter of moving out the medical product and moving in the recreational product."
Slater said he would change the name of his store to "Happy Daze" and would likely need to raise his prices to cover state taxes.
"It's going to change dramatically," said Slater, "But we gotta roll with the punches."