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Washington State Receives Nearly 1,000 New Marijuana Retail Applications


washington state marijuana regulationsWashington’s marijuana industry has seen a lot of changes lately. For a very long time Washington has had medical marijuana dispensaries that have served patients. These dispensaries operated in a legal grey area, which is not uncommon in states that have medical marijuana programs, but don’t/didn’t have a state dispensary licensing system. My home state, Oregon, was like that for a very long time. It led to a lot of issues and the harassment of dispensary owners.

Washington recently passed legislation that seeks to bring the medical marijuana and recreational marijuana industries under one umbrella. This is resulting in a lot of dispensaries either being forced to move or shutdown. All of them have to apply for licenses if they want to keep serving patients legally. I’m not a fan of merging the two programs. Colorado has a similar ‘one umbrella’ system, while Oregon does not. The new licensing requirements in Washington has resulted in a surge of applications. Per Marijuana Business Daily:

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has so far received nearly 1,000 applications from businesses seeking a new cannabis retail license.

The official tally is 962 applications, according to the Olympian. And that’s only for storefronts that want to sell either medical or recreational cannabis (or both), and it doesn’t include companies that want to get into growing or manufacturing infused products.

Simultaneously, at least 118 recreational cannabis stores that already have licenses applied for MMJ legal status to serve patients as well as rec customers.

Not everyone that applies for a license will get one I’m assuming, but there hasn’t been any confirmation as to how many licenses are up for grabs. I really hope that this doesn’t result in price spikes for patients. I don’t like price gouging for marijuana regardless if it’s medical or recreational, but I especially don’t like it when it involves patients. Patients need safe access to their medicine, and they need to be able to afford it. We will see how the ‘new era’ of medical marijuana sales go in Washington, and will have to wait and see how it compares to how it was in the past.


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Johnny Green


  1. I predict a resurgence of the black market due to a more…realistic pricing model. And I can hardly wait until they haul in some poor old unsuspecting ill and old person and call them some kind of criminal because they won’t register with some kind of yet unknown patient registry and instead prefers to grow their own medicine without state…assistance or interference. Oh sure they’ll try and call them criminals and tax evaders and all of that just like they did in the old days. But since destroying the past high pricing where the average price for high grade, home grown pot is now under $150 an ounce IF you can even sell any, that’s going to be…out too. Anyway, if there’s any states looking around for how they might “legalize” cannabis, if you want to know how not to do the legalizing just look at the cluster phuque they call legalization and have going here in Washington state. Prohibition Lite is more like it…

  2. Washington doesn’t allow people to grow their unless they have a medical card. I think as time goes on the medical growers will be forced out for state profits. It is a very real possibility that more states will tighten mmj as they don’t get the profits they feel they should.

  3. Per HB 5052, all medical “stores” must close by July of 2016. “Cooperative” homegrows will replace current collectives / dispensaries. Up to 4 people will be able to grow at a residence, if they register with the database (which hasn’t been created yet). Recreational stores with a medical endorsement must employ a “medical cannabis consultant” (a newly created type of professional license, which those with expertise may want to look into!). These rec + med stores can sell to registered medical patients tax free, or even give patients free buds – so, although your point about price gouging is well taken, I believe that patients who can’t afford to pay the taxed-recreational rate will have other options. Finally, the law of supply and demand dictates that with 1000 or more stores (the applications are still flooding in) rather than a couple hundred statewide competing for consumers’ cash, the price point on a recreational gram is likely to plummet.

  4. i anticipate the OLCC will eventually do away with the medical marijuana program . This is the only way the OLCC can regulate and tax marijuana . This will be a sad day for many patients .

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