Number of WA Recreational Cannabis Shops Could Soar

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A new law that essentially folds Washington State’s medical cannabis industry into its recreational program could lead to a huge spike in the number of licensed marijuana stores.

State lawmakers estimate that there are 800 unregulated and unlicensed dispensaries in Washington, all of which will have to apply for and win licenses under the new recreational law to continue operating, according to

Around 400 of those dispensaries may be eligible to receive licenses, Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board spokesman Brian Smith told the news outlet, adding that the state won’t cap the number of new permits.

Currently, Washington has licensed 196 recreational marijuana shops. That means the number of licensed stores could triple if the state’s estimates are correct.

The transition could prove beneficial in the long run by further undercutting the black market and putting rec shops and dispensaries on the same regulatory footing.