If you thought you'd see a room full of tie-dye wearing, chip-munching people applying for marijuana licenses, you'd be wrong. A diverse group of 350 signed up to learn about applying for a license Wednesday at the Spokane Convention Center.
Two seminars were hosted at the convention center by the Liquor Control Board before packed rooms of people interested in marijuana licenses, including Karen Phelps. Phelps moved from Ft. Worth, Texas to Spokane in May just so she could grow marijuana. It's well within the three months of residency licensees must prove.
"We are going at this with everything we've got," Phelps said.
Phelps has smoked pot the majority of her life, and now hopes to make it her life's work.
"I've been waiting for this since I've been a kid. It's been a long time coming," she said.
The Liquor Control Board staff explained each step of the application process to people. They went over operating plans, how growers will have to trace each plant, and proper ways to get rid of expired weed. It's a relief for pot enthusiasts.
"It comes out that they're actually going to help us with it, so we're not going to be walking blind, for people who've never wrote a business plan before," said potential grower Jimmie Perry.
The state will issue 334 retail licenses statewide. The Liquor Control Board doesn't know how many licenses they'll give to growers. Licensing Director Alan Rathbun said they may have another licensing period down the road.
"Remember that many people who start businesses aren't successful. So it will also depend upon the success of people that get a license," Rathbun said.
Karen Phelps is working with attorneys and realtors to acquire a license and property to grow. She's hoping a 2,000 mile move, will be worth thousands more.
"I plan to really be big in this business. I really do, you're going to know my name," Phelps said.
Pot stores are expected to open next June, but it could be sooner as the state may allow plants already grown to be sold.
More information about I-502 implementation, and how to apply for a license can be found at: http://www.liq.wa.gov/
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