The EverGreen Scene: Eburg gets ready for marijuana retailers

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BY Sully Carter

Contributing Writer


Marijuana has been legal in Washington for 17 months, but the time that everyone has been waiting for is right around the corner: marijuana retail.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board is holding its lottery  April 21 -25, to randomly select applicants to win retail licenses from the state.

“Each county will have their own lottery,” said Brian Smith, communications director for the WSLCB.

The state is allowing a total of 334 marijuana retail stores, and each county is being given a portion of the 334 based on its population. Kittitas County will be allowed four total stores, two in the city of Ellensburg. More than 2,100 businesses  applied for licenses throughout the state, with 16 businesses seeking 20 outlets in Kittitas County.

All applicants from each county will be selected at random and placed in order from first-selected to last. The state will reassess the applicants and check for zoning and other legal issues. The winners will be notified May 1, and the information will be released to the public the following day.

The retail lottery is being run by the independent accounting firm Kraght-Snell of Seattle, the same firm that runs the Washington State Lottery, and the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center of Washington State University.

“We are excited about the lottery,” said one local applicant who didn’t want to be named. “We have been at this for over a year.”

The Ellensburg City Council unanimously passed zoning regulations for retail shops in early February. There must be a 1,000-foot buffer around schools, daycares, parks, libraries and other government establishments.

City Planner Lance Bailey said that leaves available for retail only the corner of Seventh Avenue and Water Street in the downtown district, and a fairly small area further south, near the intersection of East Tacoma Avenue and South Main Street.