Cultivation Licenses, Production Amounts Slashed for Rec Market

Washington State will cut the number of recreational marijuana cultivation licenses it plans to issue and reduce the amount of cannabis each producer can grow, a move sure to rankle many entrepreneurs.

The state’s Liquor Control Board said Wednesday it will limit cultivation applicants to just one license instead of up to three as originally planned. It also will limit production to 70% of the initial cultivation cap, though it could revisit that decision in a year if demand outpaces supply.

The adjustments represent an attempt by the state to deal with a huge potential problem in its new recreational market. Under current regulations, annual cannabis production will be capped at 2 million square fee of space. But if all applications received so far (more than 2,600) are approved, producers would need a total of 35 million square feet.

Existing MMJ growers and cultivation license applicants feared the state would set new limits on the industry to address the issue.

Many will now have to overhaul their business plans at the last minute and come up with a Plan B, as recreational sales are scheduled to begin within months.

Roughly 900 entrepreneurs applied for more than one license. They will be given refunds for the additional application fees or the chance to wait a year to see if the state needs more producers.

Also Wednesday, the board said it will grant marijuana business licenses to all who qualify, even if they want to set up shop in a community that has banned or is trying to prohibit such operations. This will give entrepreneurs the ability to try to work with jurisdictions to come to an agreement that works for both sides.