NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Washington State has confirmed that it will begin sales of recreational marijuana this June. Brian Smith, communications director for the Washington State Liquor Board said the group will be issuing the first licenses in March and that the first retail stores will open in June.
Once Initiative 502 was approved, the state had one year to build a system tracking cannabis from seed to sale and gave itself a year to do so. The Washington State Liquor Board began accepting license applications in November of last year and closed the window for applications on Dec. 19, 2013.
The state is creating three different types of license - producer, processor and retailer. The licenses cost $250 and then $1,000 for renewal. There is no limit to the amount of producer/ processor licenses issued, but there are limits on which can be held simultaneously. Retail is separate from the producer and processor. A person or company can't be both; they have to choose between being a retail outlet or the production side of the business. The Board received a total of 7,046 applications with 2,821 requesting producer licenses, 2,019 for processors and 2,206 for retail outlets. They will limit the retail stores to 334.
Home grown marijuana is illegal and any recreational marijuana must be purchased from a state -licensed retailer. Out-of-state tourists will be allowed to buy, but they can't leave the state with it. Customers should be aware though, that I-502 does not preempt federal law and the federal government could still prosecute if they choose.