UPDATE: You can now purchase recreational marijuana at these Seattle pot stores.
We are 3 more days away from knowing who the winners are of the retail marijuana license lottery. 3 long days if you have been waiting forever like myself.
So I will do my best to shorten up those days for you. Instead of waiting impatiently and watching the ticks of the clock sloth throughout the day, let’s make better use of this time and take a closer look at what the lottery may unveil.
There are 334 retail marijuana licenses available for the entire state of Washington. Each county is allotted a predetermined number, as is each city within each county. But the number that stands out to me the most is the number of available at large licenses. These are available to cities within the county, but do not have a designated city – not yet.
In total, there are 153 at large retail cannabis licenses available statewide. This means almost 50% of the total number of licenses are at large. It seems to me that the State of Washington and the Liquor Control Board wanted to set aside a certain number in case there were cities which had a bigger demand for them than previously projected.
The number of at large retail marijuana licenses is interesting and significant because, it can play a huge part in what the final retail landscape looks like. Especially considering almost half of these licenses are at large.
For example, let’s look at King County, the most populated county in the state of Washington. There are 11 at large retail pot licenses available. Seattle is by far the largest city in the county and theoretically could get the majority, if not all.
I am willing to bet against the fact that Seattle gets all 11, especially since there are a total of 17 cities which have received a predetermined number of licenses and very well could show more demand than initially thought. But, when the lottery is said and done, Seattle could have up to 32 retail marijuana dispensaries.
As big of a city Seattle is, especially in comparison to the populations of surrounding cities in King County, 32 recreational dispensaries make a lot more sense. Still, in my opinion, this number is way too small.
For example, Amsterdam is a larger city than Seattle but not magnificently large: 300,000+ residents. But Amsterdam started out with over 400 retail marijuana shops. Maybe 400 was too many since they currently have around 200, but I think Seattle could benefit with a few more based on my experience in Amsterdam.
Let’s take a look at Pierce County. Tacoma is the largest city in the county with a predetermined number of retail marijuana licenses at 8. Depending on the demand and the number of applicants in the lottery from Tacoma, it is possible that Tacoma lands up to 24 cannabis retail shops based on the fact that Pierce County has 17 at large bids. 24 total stores in Tacoma is highly unlikely and there are other cities in Pierce County who don’t even have a predetermined number of licenses who might just receive one like.
Go to this page and check out the marijuana license applicant spreadsheet to view the number of at large bids available for each county and how they may change the look of the retail landscape in the state.
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