Lottery For WA Pot Store Licenses Begins - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Lottery For WA Pot Store Licenses Begins

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The lottery system chosen by Washington State to limit the number of pot retail licenses began Monday. The lottery system chosen by Washington State to limit the number of pot retail licenses began Monday.
NBCRightNow.com – The lottery system chosen by Washington State to limit the number of pot retail licenses began Monday.

The double-blind process is independent from the state. By the beginning of May we should know where some of those first stores would start to pop up.

"We're going to hold right now on the moratorium till the 12 months ends unless we get better clarification from the federal government as well as the state Attorney General's office," said Kennewick Mayor Steve Young.

October marks one year for Kennewick's moratorium, which give the city council time to consider options. Young says decisions need to be made now.

"Someone who may be issued a state license and lives in say Kennewick for example, they could test that. They could sue, but we'll have to see what that's going to be moving forward," explained Brian Smith from the WA State Liquor Control Board.

"I don't see pushback coming from them just yet. I think if it were to drag on for a long time absolutely. They're going to expect some decision to be made one way or the other," said Young.

Until those decisions are made there will end up being possible store owners holding licenses that they can’t use just yet.

The licenses are coming quick. Take a look at the numbers and you will see that not everyone who wants one will get one.

In Benton County 34 people applied but only 10 spots are designated by the state. In Franklin County we see only 9 applications but only 5 openings. In Yakima 40 people applied for retail licenses and only 14 will get them. For the cities, part of their process is making sure they get the funding they need to properly zone the new stores. As of right now taxes collected from marijuana sales will only be paid to the state.

"Not a single penny of all that is going to come back to the cities and we find that to be a little disturbing. I think you're going to see that challenged this next term in legislation," said Young.

Once those state licenses are offered, background checks will determine who gets to open shop. Stores in areas without moratoriums or restrictions could open as early as this coming July.
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