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Washington Moves Closer to Retail Cannabis

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Washington Moves Closer to Retail Cannabis

Washington state has closed the application process for retail marijuana licensing, with a total of 3,746 applications to grow, process or sell cannabis under the state’s recreational law. The 30-day licensing window closed Dec. 20 with 867 retail store applications, a number that will be reduced to 334 approvals though a state lottery system. In addition, 1,670 production and 1,209 processing license applications were received by the state’s liquor control board.

Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter has said there is a backlog of retail marijuana licensing submissions that still need to be processed.

The state adopted the rules to implement Initiative 502 in October, but expects it will likely take a full year before consumers can buy retail cannabis due to the establishment of a seed to sale tracking process.

Initiative 502 was passed by Washington voters in November 2012 and legalized the possession of recreational cannabis for those 21 and over while also establishing a framework for growing, processing and selling the drug. Once retail locations are established, those from out of state will be allowed to purchase marijuana; however, onsite consumption is not allowed nor is homegrown marijuana for recreational use.

While the state estimates a $12 per gram retail purchase price, a 25 percent excise tax will be placed on each level of the three-tier system. In addition, an additional business and occupation tax will be placed on the producer and local retail sales taxes will also be applied.

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