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14 businesses vying for three marijuana retail licenses
Even with a six-month moratorium in place on city licenses, the chase for state-issued recreational marijuana business licenses is beginning to heat up.
As of Dec. 31, 14 businesses have applied for the three retail licenses to sell marijuana to be available in the city of Renton.
With names ranging from “All Natural” to “The Happiness Company” to “World of Weed,” the 14 potential locations come from all parts of the city, though with five applications, Sunset Boulevard is by far the most competitive street in the city to get a retail license.
According to Liquor Control Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter, the board will do preliminary license investigations of all of the applicants. The investigation will include a look at the proposed locations to ensure that they meet all state criteria for a retail shop, including the correct distance from schools, parks and other sensitive areas.
In addition, Carpenter said landlords atthe proposed locations would be contacted to ensure the applicants have a right to the property. On one application they have processed, for example, the applicant used the address of the Seattle Public Library.
“It’s not fair to those that have done their homework,” Carpenter said.
The number of retail business licenses to be issued in King County was capped in September at 61, with 21 of those stores being in Seattle and 11 to be issued at-large in unincorporated areas.
Renton, along with Kent and Federal Way are slated for three stores, while Bellevue will get four, Kirkland two and Tukwila and Maple Valley will both get a single store.
All licenses will also have to meet all local regulations regarding the sale of marijuana. Presently, the City of Renton has a six-month moratorium in place on the issuance of marijuana-related licenses.
The moratorium is designed to allow the city to study the issue and make any changes to zoning requirements they deem necessary.
Much of the discussion about the zoning, however, dealt with producer and processor businesses as the city was unsure how to classify said businesses in order to zone them properly.
Regarding retail businesses, the City Council last summer came together behind the idea of treating marijuana retail in the same way it dealt with state liquor stores.
Several businesses have also applied to be producers and processors of marijuana as well, but there is no limit on the number of producer or processor licenses that can be issued to a city. However, there is a state-wide cap on production, limited to 2 million square feet throughout Washington.
Carpenter said he expects licenses for producers to begin being issued in late February and said he expects retail shops to open beginning in June.