The Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) continues to release a weekly list of individuals and companies who have submitted applications to grow, process or sell marijuana. Under the new law authorized by state voters in 2012, producers can both grow and process pot but they cannot sell marijuana.
In Whatcom County, there have been 38 applications filed for producers, 36 for processors and 11 for retailers. There were no applications received for Blaine or Birch Bay.
Bellingham produced the lion’s share of applications with 20 producer, 18 processor and 10 retail applications received. The only other retail application came from Point Roberts and it is not clear from the LCB information where the store will actually be located. There were six producer and six processor applications from Ferndale and four producer and three processor submissions from Lynden (shades of Amsterdam?) with the rest coming from Acme, Maple Falls, Glacier, Sumas and Everson.
As might be expected, company names reflected a certain aesthetic. Bearded Bro’s Buds, Acme Mountain Herb, Starry Field Farms, Jack’s Homegrown, and Oh McDonald Farms were some of the companies vying to get into the now-legal pot industry.
The LCB has said it was placing priority on applications from processors in order to allow successful applicants time to begin growing their crops. Licenses will most likely be issued in late February or March, which would mean retail stores would start opening in late spring. Applications must first be vetted by the LCB who will be checking for criminal backgrounds and making certain the locations do not infringe upon the 1,000-foot exclusion zone that separates the businesses from schools, parks and other specified gathering places.
Under rules approved by the LCB on September 4, 15 stores in Whatcom County will be allowed to sell marijuana next year, . Of those licenses, Bellingham will receive six, and Ferndale and Lynden would each receive one.
Blaine immigration attorney Len Saunders cautioned border crossers, saying, “My feeling is that it creates uncertainty at the border because if you tell them at the border that you’re planning to buy marijuana, the federal laws are pretty cut and dried – it’s illegal. Period. Canadians will be denied entry.” He also added that such an admission would be the “kiss of death” for Canadians and Americans who hold NEXUS cards. “The program is zero tolerance,” he said.
The list will be updated weekly by the LCB and will be finalized early in 2014.