EAST WENATCHEE Two more North-Central Washington companies have been granted business licenses by the state to operate recreational marijuana producing and processing facilities.
They are Gecko Growers of East Wenatchee and Blewett Pass Farms of Peshastin. They join Monkey Grass Farms, which has opened a facility in Wenatchee and hopes to grow recreational marijuana in Omak next year.
Gecko Growers received a producer and processor license, while Blewett Pass Farms has received one producer license. Both companies, as well as Monkey Grass Farms, applied for three producer licenses, but the state Liquor Control Board is limiting licenses for now due to the demand compared to available canopy space.
As of last Tuesday, the state has issued 29 producer business licenses and 22 processor licenses. The Liquor Control Board has announced it will begin granting retail licenses by July.
One Omak-based retail location, The Sage Shop at 903 Engh Road No. C, was named as the sole qualified applicant in the city.
The owner declined to speak about her business on the record, at least until it’s officially up and running.
However, she may have a fight on her hands — the city will not permit the business as its business code prohibits issuing licenses when a company’s operation is illegal under federal, state or local laws.
Marijuana sale and consumption is still illegal under federal law, but more than 56 percent of state voters approved Initiative 502 to legalize the drug in 2012.
Three other applicants in Okanogan County at large have also been selected for further screening in the licensing process: Hamsterdam, 303 Riverside Ave. in Winthrop; Austin Lott, 29 Horizon Flats Road Suite 8 in Winthrop, and 4USRetail, 23251 state Highway 20 in Okanogan.
In Winthrop, the Town Council decided last month to deny Lott’s appeal that would have allowed him to open a shop in his chosen location in an industrial zone.
The Liquor Control Board released the results of its April 21-25 lottery last week. Seventy-five jurisdictions – counties and cities – required lotteries because the number of retail applicants exceeded the number of allotted business licenses.
The state plans to grant licenses to a maximum of 334 recreational marijuana retailers.
Locally, that breaks down to five stores in Okanogan County, with one earmarked for Omak; three for Douglas County, with one shop in East Wenatchee; one for Ferry County at-large, and seven in Grant County, with one shop each to be located in Ephrata and Quincy and two shops for Moses Lake.
Okanogan County, Omak, Grant County at-large, Ephrata, Quincy and Moses Lake didn’t have enough qualified applicants to require a lottery.
Grant County businesses selected to continue through the process are Brandy’s Antiques, 226 Coulee Blvd. in Electric City; Rainbow Purple, 7835 state Highway 283 in Ephrata, and High Time Station, 1448 Basin St. N.W. in Ephrata.
Rainbow Purple is within Grant County at large.
Six applicants were selected in Douglas County at large. In order, they are Chronics in Rock Island; The Lid, 826 state Highway 173 Suite B in Brewster; Columbia Herbal in Waterville; The Roach in East Wenatchee; Green to Go in Wenatchee, and Holistic Healing Alternatives in Waterville.
Three applicants are listed for consideration in East Wenatchee: The Happy Crop Shoppe, Canabis Rock Island Road and Good Times Hemp.
In Ferry County, all three applicants have made it to the next round. They are Secret Herb Shop in Boyds; Mountain View Herbal, 4 Mid Mountain Road in Republic, and Weyzer Bud, 5 E. July St. in Danville.
The Liquor Control Board noted that being named as a pre-qualified applicant doesn’t guarantee a license will be granted if the applicant can’t pass the rest of the process.
“They’ll still have to go through the licensing process. This is just determining the order,” spokesman Mikhail Carpenter told The Chronicle last week.
As for disqualified applicants, Carpenter said:
“At some point, we’re going to start withdrawing those applications, and so those will show up as withdrawn.”