There were over 400 applicants in Seattle all vying for one of the 21 coveted marijuana retail store licenses. The odds of one of these applicants being granted the legal right to open a shop was over 5%. With odds like these, the applicants might as well have played the lottery! Oh wait – they just did…
Since April 21, the Washington State Liquor Control Board had been conducting a lottery to decide who will receive the licenses for the 21 designated marijuana retail shops in Seattle. The lottery supposedly ended the 25th of April and now the public is waiting for Friday, the 2nd of May, to find out the winners. In fact, we at HighAboveSeattle.com, are patiently waiting so we can complete the list of Seattle pot stores. and get ready for the official opening of the industry.
During the whole process of implementing I-502, including the lottery for Retail licenses, there has been a disturbing lack of transparency. Especially with something of this importance and magnitude, the legalization of marijuana, which will have a dynamic cultural and societal impact on state and national levels.
But without getting too far ahead, let’s just focus on the lottery for recreational cannabis licenses. What do we know about this lottery? Digging through many articles that were published before the lottery began, we know that the lottery was a double-blinded lottery (applicants and numbers drawn separately, then numbers attached to applicants, and then placed in a ordered list) and will be held if the county/city had a greater number of applicants than available licenses. Makes sense right?
And that’s about it. That’s really all we know. Which raises more questions than answers. For example, did you know that southwest Seattle has more applicants than guaranteed designated licenses for the entire city of Seattle? So, theoretically, South Park and the rest of southwest Seattle could he home to all of the marijuana retail dispensaries in Seattle?
Of course, this may not be probable, but it does beg the question: did the lottery commission divide Seattle by area and grant a number of available applicants per area? As a resident, we all want to think that they did and know they put a lot of though into the process. But after witnessing the lack of thought the state placed on where to smoke marijuana once it is purchased, it’s difficult not to question.
What about Capitol Hill? The counter culture hub of Seattle and the cities most densely populated area? Since Capitol Hill is currently not allowed to host a marijuana retail shop then there has to be at least 1 license granted for that small pocket of land near 23rd and Union, where a shop can legally operate, right? (Keep in mind you will see markers placed in Capitol Hill where applicants have applied for retail licenses. Even though they applied, the code and law will not allow them to be granted a license and open up shop unless the code and law is changed)
Unless they further divided Seattle into areas, then there is a possibility – actually a high possibility – the area in question will not be home to a legal pot dispensary. With only 7 applications for that area, there is less than a 2% chance of a retail shop. Again, maybe the state did break down the city into areas before performing the lottery. But because of the lack of transparency, we do not know.
All we really know is, the winners of the lottery will be announced on the 2nd of May. Or will they? All we can do is wait and see and hope for more transparency from here on out.
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