WASHINGTON: Sam Calvert has a dream of getting in on the ground floor of a historic change in retail commerce that begins Monday. But it’s a struggle, he acknowledged.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Calvert, 50, who has managed commercial real estate and worked as a consultant for business startups.
He knows the three most important factors for a business are “location, location, location,” but as of late this week he was without a lease. He has yet to find a bank that will accept his commercial account. For most businesses he counsels, their startup difficulty is a 2 or a 3 on scale of 1 to 10. His is “at least a 9, maybe a 10.”
The business Calvert wants to start? Green Star, a retail outlet for recreational marijuana sales.
He’s not an activist in the long-running political battle to legalize marijuana, Calvert said. He’s not even a user.
He just sees a business opportunity if he can land one of the eight retail marijuana licenses the Washington Liquor Control Board will award for Spokane out of the 334 it will allow statewide.
For 30 days starting Monday, Washington will open the door to Calvert and other budding entrepreneurs for licenses to do what just a year ago would be unthinkable and illegal: Grow marijuana in fields and greenhouses; process it into various products to smoke, eat or otherwise consume; or sell those products to any adult who walks into a shop off the street.
“This is a historic first,” said Beverly Crichfield of the Department of Revenue, which will start accepting the special marijuana business license applications Monday morning. They’ll be processed and forwarded to the Liquor Control Board for review, and should be issued early next year.