A grow room in the Northwest Patients Resource Center. The NWPRC was not one of the 21 Seattle-based applicants chosen for potential retail recreational cannabis licenses. Photo by Taylor Kent.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board has released a ranked list revealing the potential winners and losers of a statewide lottery for retail recreational cannabis licenses. The list includes 21 possible retail locations in Seattle among the 334 winners in a pool of 1,174 applicants.
The lottery results do not guarantee retail licenses at this stage, those chosen must still have their operations and financial plans approved, pass criminal background checks and complete inspections of their locations. For John Davis, CEO of Seattle-based medical marijuana dispensary Northwest Patient Resource Center (NWPRC), the results of the lottery do not change much.
“I sold pot yesterday, I’m going to sell pot tomorrow,” he said.
While the winning Seattle-based applicants were awarded numbers from 1 to 21, NWPRC was left out of the ranking with lottery numbers 52 and 96.
“How many of these applicants are actually viable is not known at this time,” Davis said, stating his belief that many of the recreational cannabis retailers will not succeed as they have little experience in the industry.
Potential sites for the retail outlets include current medical marijuana dispensaries, such as the address for the top Seattle lottery holder Trichome & Calyx Corp. where Safe Access Dispensary now operates, as well as new locations, such as the proposed site for No. 21 ranked Seattle retail winner Diego Pellicer.
For Davis, the fact that he did not receive a top number ranking for the potential retail licenses may be a good thing. Davis feels the recreational cannabis tax in Washington state (a 25 percent excise tax placed on each level of the producer, processor and retail system along with additional taxes for business and occupation taxes for producers and local retail sales taxes) will couple with short supply and make the cost of retail cannabis, at least initially, very expensive.
“And the black market doesn’t cease to exist,” he said while noting he will now have time to wait on the legislative session to change the law.
The retail lottery, held last week, involved 75 jurisdictions, while 45 jurisdictions did not require a lottery. As of April 30, the liquor control board has issued 25 producer and processor licenses and expects to begin issuing retail licenses no later than the first week of July.