by Jack Mayne 
The recent Washington State Liquor Control Board lottery for a license to run the single retail store allotted to Des Moines has produced two candidates.
They are, in order of their ranking:
- Greenside Group, 23407 Pacific Highway South
- Anthony Daron Newton, 24401 Pacific Highway South
If Greenside, for any reason, fails the board’s selection criteria – including the store site not be located near schools, day care facilities and other sensitive areas or have a criminal history, the next candidate will be vetted for the license.
The liquor board is charged under voter approved Initiative 502 with regulating the retail sales of marijuana in small amounts to the general public. The board has allotted 61 stores to King County with one each in Des Moines, SeaTac, Burien, and Tukwila. Seattle will have 21 stores and there are 11 stores for unincorporated areas, including smaller cities.
When will licenses be issued in cities and areas with approved applicants?
“Hard to say,” said a Liquor Board representative on Thursday (May 8). “Each application is unique and we have thousands to process.”
After the state grants a license, the Des Moines city government must approve the applicant. The hang-up in many cities in King County, are laws forbidding the approval of any enterprise that violates state or federal laws. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, although the present Obama administration has said it will not move to enforce the law in Washington state and Colorado, the two states where marijuana has been legalized for personal consumption
“One condition of the (state) license is that in order to operate an applicant must be in compliance with all of the local authority rules and regulations,” said Liquor Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter. “Essentially, that means that if they meet our criteria they get a license, but to operate they need to meet the city’s criteria. That makes the issue of zoning, bans, moratoria a conversation between the applicant and the city, not the WSLCB.”
Effectively, any individual Washington city can decide not to have pot sales.
The Liquor Control Board has said it hopes to begin issuing licenses in early July.