Washington State Issues First Business License for Pot Shop

Washington State Issues First Business License for Pot Shop

The first legal-marijuana business license in the history of Washington state was issued Wednesday after 75 years of marijuana being illegal. The license was given to Sean Green, who owns medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane and Shoreline. The Shoreline shop is called Pacific Northwest Medical, which he started in 2011; the Spokane shop is called Kouchlock, which is named for the occurrence when someone is too drugged to get off the couch. Green chortled, “Cannabis prohibition is over. I’m coming home with jobs, Spokane.” Green is now permitted to grow 21,000 square feet of cannabis at his Spokane facility.

In 2012, Washington voters approved the sale of pot from dispensaries and making sure it would be highly taxed. It then became legal for adults over 21. The Liquor Control Board received over 2,200 retail applications; lotteries will be held to determine which of the 334 additional pot dispensaries will be approved.

Seattle attorney Alison Holcomb, who fought for pot legalization, said, “It’s easy to talk about what marijuana legalization might look like. It’s a much different thing to see it roll out.”

Green had to pass criminal and financial background checks, offer a board-approved business plan and make sure his shops were not near schools or daycares. Liquor Control Board chairwoman Sharon Foster purred, “We’re proud of you. We now know there are folks out there who follow the rules and are willing to be participants of this brave new venture in Washington state.”

Green said he has had trouble because of his work growing pot, including losing six bank accounts. He has plans to increase his business by growing marijuana buds for retail, though he still will run his medical operations. He also plansto make cannabis-infused candies and his creation the “super joint,” which combines an ultra-strong marijuana cigarette with cannabis oil and flowers.

Derek Franklin, president of the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, was disturbed Green was getting a license, said he found it troubling that Green was getting the first license, because of the Kouchlock name. He said, “There doesn’t seem to be much attention being paid to public health and public safety.” he said.

The Seattle Times has reported that two of Pacific Northwest Medical’s former employees filed complaints with Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries saying they had not been paid; another employee said Green had sexually harassed her.

Department spokesman Matthew Erlich said the department received the two complaints. But the state Human Rights Commission said it never received the sexual harassment complaint. Green said he didn’t know of the complaints, but Erlich disagreed, emailing the Associated Press that the department dealt directly with Green.