Whatcom's first marijuana business applicants revealed

With business names ranging from the more generic, Emerald Acres and Pacific Bionetworks, to others that might elicit chuckles, like Green Stop or Bearded Bro’s Buds, Whatcom County has its first glimpse of the local entrepreneurs vying to snatch up licenses in Washington’s emerging recreational marijuana industry.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board released a list of names on Tuesday, Nov. 26, from 929 applicants seeking licenses to produce, process or sell recreational pot that state regulators have received since the window for license applications opened on Nov. 18.

In Whatcom County, 23 applicants want licenses to grow marijuana, 21 are seeking to process pot and four have applied to operate retail stores.

See a list of the applicants here: Marijuana license applications, 11/27/13. Updated lists of applicants will be released on Tuesdays over the following weeks, according to the liquor board.

Whatcom County’s four retail applicants are all located in Bellingham. Its producer and processor applicants are spread more throughout the county.

Regulars are currently reviewing applications—verifying residency status, running criminal background checks, ensuring businesses will not be within 1,000 feet of schools or other specified areas, among other safeguards— and they don’t anticipate that licenses will be issued until late February or early March 2014. The board is accepting applications up until Dec. 19.

The liquor board said in September that it would allow up to 334 retail locations for marijuana statewide. Fifteen of them will be allowed in Whatcom County: 6 in Bellingham, one in Ferndale, one in Lynden and 7 additional “at-large” retail licenses.

Cities with larger populations were given a proportionate number of license allocations, based on available data, and “at-large” licenses were also allocated for outlying communities and unincorporated areas in each county. Allocations were chosen on a county-by-county basis using 2010 population data from the state’s Office of Financial Management, as well as adult consumption data gathered by BOTEC Analysis Corp., a private company hired as a consultant to the state to help implement the new system, mandated by last year’s successful Initiative 502.

Evan Marczynski, staff reporter for The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or evan@bbjtoday.com.

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