Washington LCB To Increase Number Of Retail Marijuana Stores Following Analysis Of Marketplace

WASHINGTON: Following an analysis of the entire marijuana marketplace in Washington State, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) today heard a recommendation from staff to increase the number of retail marijuana stores from the current cap of 334 to a new cap of 556. The methodology for the cap will be part of emergency rules which will be announced Jan. 6, 2016. The allocation of retail licenses determined by the board will be published on the WSLCB website at lcb.wa.gov.

“Our goal was clear; to ensure medical patients have access to the products they need,” said WSLCB Director Rick Garza. “There will be more storefronts for patients going forward than are available today. In addition, qualified patients can grow their own or join a four-member cooperative.”

Earlier this year the legislature enacted, and Gov. Inslee signed, legislation (SSB 5052) entitled the Cannabis Patient Protection Act. The new law charges the WSLCB, the state Department of Health and other agencies with drafting regulations that integrate the medical marijuana marketplace into the tightly controlled recreational marketplace. The WSLCB is charged with licensing retail applicants using a priority-based system.

Priority Licensing System

  • First priority applicants are those who applied for a marijuana retail license prior to July 1, 2014, operated (or were employed by) a collective garden prior to January 1, 2013, have maintained a state and local business license and have a history of paying state taxes and fees.
  • Second priority applicants are those who operated (or were employed by) a collective garden prior to January 1, 2013, have maintained a state and local business license, and have a history of paying state taxes and fees.
  • Third priority applicants are those who don’t meet the first or second criteria.

The WSLCB began accepting license applications on Oct. 12, 2015. Thus far, the WSLCB has received 1,194 retail applications. Of those who have applied, 39 have been determined as priority one and 42 have been determined as priority two. Applicants must still meet all other WSLCB licensing criteria before being licensed.

Proportionate Allocation based on Medical Sales
The number of retail locations will be determined using a method that distributes the number of locations proportionate to the most populous cities within each county and to accommodate the medical needs of qualifying patients and designated providers. Locations not assigned to a specific city will be at large.

WSLCB will increase the number of available licenses in the ten counties with the highest medical sales by 100 percent. Exceptions include Yakima and Benton Counties which have bans and moratoria in all major population centers. The 100 percent increase will transfer to the next two highest for medical needs, Skagit and Cowlitz Counties. Those counties and jurisdictions not in the top ten for medical sales will receive an increase of the number of licensees by 75 percent.

In addition to new retail licensees, 70 percent of existing retail recreational marijuana stores have received an endorsement on their license to sell medical marijuana.

BOTEC Analysis Corporation Report
BOTEC Analysis Corporation provided its final report, Estimating the Size of the Medical Cannabis Market in Washington State, on Dec. 15, 2015. In its report, BOTEC provided a range of the value of the overall marijuana market in Washington State. Its best estimate of the overall market value is a median figure at $1.3 billion annually. Its best estimate on the breakdown is: $480M medical (37 percent of market), $460M state-licensed recreational stores (35 percent of market) and $390M illicit (28 percent of the market).

Washington State Troopers Crack Down On Marijuana ‘Open Containers’

WASHINGTON: Washington State troopers are ramping up efforts to enforce a new portion of the state’s marijuana law, which makes it illegal to have an open container of pot in your car.

The law went into affect on Sept. 26 and is similar to the state’s alcohol open container law.

The law states that marijuana must be in its original sealed package and stored in the trunk of your car or behind the backseat. It also extends to pot-infused edibles.

Driving with an open container of pot is a traffic infraction that carries an $136 dollar fine.

Washington State To Accept New Pot Shop Apps On Monday

WASHINGTON:  On Monday, Washington state began accepting applications for new marijuana shops in the state. It is the first time since 2013 that business owners can apply to set up shop.

The change is a result of a new ordinance that eliminates the distinction between medical and recreational marijuana shops. Now, they will all be full recreational retailers and that could bring hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to cities like Cheney.

Dennis Turner is the owner of 3 Green Thumbs in Cheney. It is the only medical retailer allowed in the city due to zoning regulations.

 

New Marijuana Law Side Effect: Youth Possession Now A Felony

WASHINGTON: A prosecutor in southeastern Washington has charged three teens with felonies for marijuana possession, saying a new law demands the higher level of offense.

The Lewiston Tribune in Idaho reports three teens ages 14, 15 and 17 have been charged in nearby Asotin County with felonies that could net them up to five years in prison. The offense was previously a misdemeanor with a maximum 90-day jail sentence.

Asotin County Prosecutor Ben Nichols says Senate Bill 5052 contains the new language.

Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center says the tougher penalty was designed to deter minors from trying an adult drug.

The PayPal Of Recreational Pot: Startup Aims To Eliminate Cash From Washington State Marijuana business

WASHINGTON: Recreational marijuana may be legal in Washington state, but in many ways, it’s still a risky business.

The biggest risk is that nearly all transactions happen with cash. And not just customers buying marijuana, but much bigger transactions when retailers buy from the producers that actually grow the pot.

Everyone uses cash because banks, which are federally regulated, aren’t keen on the idea of getting into business in an industry that is still federally illegal.

Now, there’s a company that’s bringing electronic payments to the world of recreational marijuana, and it could be a game-changer.

Get high Every Morning With Marijuana K-cups

WASHINGTON: As more and more states legalize marijuana for recreational use, edibles and infusions are becoming a massive marketplace.  Yahoo Finance now reports that coffee businesses are now infusing cannabis in their brews, ready to be bought in K-cups and coffee pods.

Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop of Seattle sells pods of “premium infused” coffee, containing 10mg of THC, for $10 each. “I liken it to a Red Bull and vodka,” Uncle Ike’s sales manager Jennifer Lanzador told Yahoo. “I had more energy, but I still had the relaxation you get from cannabis.” The pods are becoming big sellers — probably because of their undeniable convenience — and now reportedly account for 60 percent of Uncle Ike’s coffee sales.

 

Spokesman-Review Editorial: Lawmakers’ Tweaks Of Pot Law: Some Smart, Others Not

WASHINGTON: Lawmakers are replanting Initiative 502 before it’s had a year to establish roots. Some of this cultivation is warranted, some is premature.

The House and Senate are working on ways to harmonize the unregulated medical marijuana market with the regulated recreational one. Voters legalized medical marijuana in 1998, but the Legislature has failed to establish a regulatory framework for distribution and sales. This has caused headaches for municipalities ever since. Spokane Valley, for instance, has declared a moratorium on new medical marijuana busineses as it awaits state action.

Both chambers wisely passed bills that fold medical marijuana into the regulatory structure for recreational pot created by the Liquor Control Board. The bills create a voluntary registry for authorized patients who would be able to purchase greater quantities and gain access to tax exemptions.

 

MJ Research Report: Washington State Legal Pot Sales Reach $100M

By Joe Armes

WASHINGTON: The recreation cannabis industry has surpassed $100M in sales in the first 33 weeks of legal sales in Washington State. Two months into the year the market is on track to hit Analytically Correct’s 2015 forecast published in the MJ Research Report’s Market Outlook. According to the forecast there is a 95% likelihood that it will take only another 12 to 18 weeks for the industry to quickly rake in another $100M in sales, reaching $200M between the weeks of May 17th and June 28th.

If you are a producer, processor or retailer who would like to be a confidential data provider for the dashboard and receive custom business insights or would like more information about business intelligence and analytics feel free to contact Joe at joe@analyticallycorrect.com.

 

About Joe Armes: Joe is the founder of Analytically Correct, a data analytics services company that provides custom analytics solutions that transform data into insights to allow decision makers to focus on what adds most value. His passion is to work with organizations with deeply rooted causes to help them gain access to the knowledge needed to make timely and informed decisions.

Small Town In Washington Expects To Open Its Own Legal Cannabis Store By Month’s End

WASHINGTON: The City of North Bonneville is only weeks away from securing a license to open Washington’s first municipally controlled and operated recreational marijuana store, which local leaders say could serve as a model to be adopted by cities across the state.

The bucolic community of some 1,000 residents is located along the Columbia River amid a host of lakes, streams, hiking trails, panoramic vistas and within an hour’s drive of Mount Hood and year-round skiing. North Bonneville, once fed by a vibrant timber industry now in steep decline, now banks on tourism as a major economic engine, local leaders say. The city also is only some 45 miles northeast of the attractions of a big city — Portland, Oregon, a state that, like Washington, recently legalized the production and sale of recreational marijuana.

But it is not tourism, at least at this point, that is the driving force behind North Bonneville’s decision to get into the legal marijuana business. The primary reason for that choice, according to North Bonneville Mayor Don Stevens, is to assure the city takes control of its own destiny in the inevitable evolution of a legal cannabis market that holds great promise but still remains marked by citizen concerns and pockets of hard-core opposition to the very idea of legal weed.

“I view [North Bonneville’s approach} as the city being welcoming to the whole idea of recreational marijuana legalization and trying to ensure it’s done as cleanly and professionally and with as much of an eye on the public health and welfare as possible,” Stevens said. “The financial aspects of it are certainly part of the equation, but they weren’t the primary factor.”

MJ Research Report: After Slow Start For 2015 Washington Legal Pot Sales Rebound With Record Week

By Joe Armes

WASHINGTON:  After a record sales day with over $1.2M in sales on New Year’s Eve the beginning of 2015 seemed to have been off to a sluggish start for recreational cannabis sales in Washington State.  That was until last week when sales growth perked up with a new record sales week with $4.2M in combined producer, processor and retailer sales between January 11th and the 17th.

Here are some other insights from the Washington State Recreational Cannabis Business Intelligence Dashboard:

  • Comparing month-to-month sales for the first 19 days of the month, January combined producer, processor and retailer sales continue on a slower growth trend for a second straight month and are trending at ~3% growth for the month.  In a couple weeks we will have the breakdown with more details but we expect a repeat of December with producer/processor sales declining and healthy growth for retail sales.
  • Overall, sales are on a healthy growth trend for the first 27 weeks of legal, recreational cannabis sales in the state.  This growth has been primarily driven by new retail store openings.
  • Washington State now has 110 issued retail licenses.  In a couple weeks we will have the details on how many of these stores have opened for business.

If you are a producer, processor or retailer who would like to be a confidential data provider for the dashboard and receive custom business insights or would like more information about business intelligence and analytics feel free to contact Joe at joe@analyticallycorrect.com