The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) today announced that they will hold a lottery to select the apparent successful applicants for marijuana retail licenses April 21-25. The lottery will produce a list of applicants that the agency will use to continue its retail licensing process. The WSLCB is expected to post the list of applicants for each jurisdiction in their website’s public records section on May 2 and they expect to begin issuing retail licenses no later than the first week of July.
Initiative 502 directed the WSLCB to limit the number of marijuana retail stores by county. In its rules, the WSLCB limited the number of stores statewide to 334. The City of Seattle is allocated 21 retail stores, similar to the number of liquor stores in the city prior to privatization.
There are multiple requirements for licensure such as the applicant must have a business location that is not within 1,000 feet of a school, park or other area specified by Initiative 502 as places where children congregate. The City of Seattle adopted zoning regulations that prohibit marijuana businesses from locating in residential areas, neighborhood business zones, and historical areas.
Limiting how many retail outlets are allowed in a geographic area is a science-based method for preventing youth substance use. Multiple studies indicate that restricting the number of businesses that sell alcohol or tobacco in a neighborhood is one way to prevent youth access and use of the drugs. The same is expected to hold true for marijuana.