New pot rules were approved Wednesday, the culmination of research, public input, and discussion over the past year and now the plan for the state's marijuana industry is in full motion.
Many will apply for the coveted licenses, and few will get to sell. Eight pot stores will be allowed in Spokane next year, and 10 more will be allowed in Spokane County. The stores across the state are expected to make millions for the state, and even for store owners.
The rules allow for 334 stores statewide, about the same amount of state liquor stores before the liquor industry was privatized. One person or company can only own 33-percent of a market. Stores will have to be 1,000 feet away from schools, parks, and childcare facilities. The Liquor Control Board wanted to make it 1,000 feet along a direct route, but U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder didn't like that so the measurement will be measured 1,000 feet as the crow flies.
It significantly drops the number of areas in a place like Cheney, according to Mayor Tom Trulove.
"It relieves a lot of citizens, a lot of residents who just don't want that next door," he said.
Producers, processors, and retailers can also "give limited free samples (among themselves)....for the purpose of negotiating a sale." What most of us would call a drug deal is now being regulated and directed by the state. And no, consumers won't get any of those free samples.
The City of Spokane also updated its map on where these pot shops can go so when licenses are approved, people can start purchasing storefronts.
"The goal is to get out in front of this and provide some expectations and implement the law as voters approved while maintaining the safety and character of our neighborhoods," City Spokesman Brian Coddington said.
The city's map can be found here.
People can apply for a license starting November 18th. The licenses will go out March 1st, 2014. The Liquor Control Board expects the first stores could open June 1st, 2014.