Washington’s Marijuana Lottery: Good Odds, Big Cash Prizes

WASHINGTON:  When the Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) decided to license just 334 marijuana stores, it made permission to operate such a business a scarce and valuable commodity. But when the LCB received more than 2,100 applications for those 334 licenses, it did not cash in on that artificial value by auctioning them. Instead it used lotteries to winnow the field in each jurisdiction with more applications than licenses (which was most of them), saying applicants who received the lowest numbers would get first crack at qualifying. Guess what happened next.

The Kitsap Sun reports that David Comeau, who drew the second lowest number in the lottery for Bremerton, where the LCB plans to issue two retail licenses, recently sold his business, Better Buds, to C&C Shop LLC, which came in 13th, for $150,000. Comeau, whose business exists mostly on paper, will also receive 10 percent of C&C’s net monthly revenue (or $10,000 a month, if the revenue is lower than that) for as long as the company’s store is open. Since the application fee was $250, that’s a pretty good payoff. Plus Comeau was competing against just 15 other applicants for Bremerton’s two licenses. Those have to be the best odds ever in a state lottery. “We just got really, really lucky,” Comeau told the Sun. “It was absolutely like winning a real lottery.”

Reports Of Problems Vex Washington Pot Lottery

WASHINGTON: Andrew Elliott is hoping to score one of the golden tickets of Washington’s legal marijuana industry: a license to sell pot, granted in part on a series of high-tech lotteries held this week.

He almost didn’t get a shot. Just days before the lotteries began, the state’s Liquor Control Board informed him he had been disqualified because his proposed pot shop in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood was too close to an area frequented by children — a game arcade which, it turns out, doesn’t exist.

Thanks to quick work by his lawyer, Stephanie Boehl, the board agreed at the last minute to put Elliott back in the Seattle lottery. But some others disqualified haven’t been so lucky.

Interviews with applicants and their attorneys detail a number of reported problems, from one rejection based on a typo to potential issues with the state’s software to technicalities that torpedoed what might otherwise have been strong applications.

Most troubling, they say, is that some people weren’t informed until this week, after the lotteries had started, that they’d been disqualified, leaving them no meaningful way to appeal what might have been mistaken decisions by the board.

Revised I-502 Rules Would Allow 10 Marijuana Retail Shops In Kitsap County

WASHINGTON: Under revised rules proposed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, a maximum of 334 state-licensed retail outlets for recreational marijuana — including 10 in Kitsap County — would be allowed under implementation of Initiative 502. Other licensing restrictions would prevent large commercial interests from establishing monopoly control of the marijuana production, processing or retailing sectors. [Read more…]