Complaints Over Recreational Licensing Lottery

Washington State’s lottery for retail marijuana licenses has produced a few hiccups that could create headaches for officials down the road.

Officials from Washington State’s Liquor Control Board said they have received a handful of requests for appeals from cannabis entrepreneurs who were denied entry into the state’s lottery for retail licenses.

The board’s licensing director said there will be an appeals process for these businesses. But the board isn’t sure what will happen if appeals are awarded, since the lottery for the state’s 334 retail spots will have already been completed.

Additional businesses are complaining that the board did not give them adequate time to file an appeal, since many disqualifications were announced the week before the lottery. Some disqualified business owners claim the board made errors in its judgement and dismissed them based on software errors or typos.

Whether these complaints turn into lawsuits is yet to be seen. An ugly legal battle could further stall the state’s long-awaited retail marijuana industry, which is set to launch in July.

Three businesses were reinstated into the lottery after appealing their dismissal. One business owner was disqualified because his proposed retail shop was deemed to be too close to a children’s arcade. The business owner proved the arcade did not actually exist.

Another business owner submitted screen shots of his application to prove that important fields were not left blank, which the board had initially said disqualified him.

The board received more than 2,100 applications for the lottery, which will assign retail licenses in 78 cities. Of those applications, 1,170 made it into the lottery, a spokesperson confirmed.

3 comments on “Complaints Over Recreational Licensing Lottery
  1. victoria smith on

    Using a state board to assign retail licenses means that mmj is a regulated monopoly. Not good for consumers, not good for an industry. For those states considering legalization, Washington is NOT the model. Look to Colorado, where the industry more closely resembles an open market with high entry thresholds (zoning requirements, production safeguards, limits on ownership)BUT no limit on the potential number of licensees. Legalization is the trend, and there are better ways forward.

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  2. samus cass on

    @ victoria this is a lottery for I-502 Recreational marijuana not medical. The way in which it is set up is everything but a monopoly. In Colorado the same people that grow it sell it. In Washington not possible and an open market does not have high entry thresholds. Colorado is a model for a quick rollout. Washington will most likely become the model state once it works its self through the growing pains. Washington is setting itself up for long term success and profitability not a quick buck.

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  3. James on

    This whole thing is about Washington making a quick buck they don’t care about the retailers just there pocket.

    Reply

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