VANCOUVER -- As Colorado became the first state in the nation to legally sell marijuana Wednesday, the Washington State Liquor Control Board was in the process of reviewing applications.
Retail marijuana stores are expected to open in a few months, and with 344 licenses available for the more than 1,300 applicants it appears the state will resort to a lottery system to figure out who gets one.
The owner of the 39th Street Market in Vancouver store owner told KGW he hopes to get one of the six applications the city will be allowed.
“It’s just a whole new world,” said Charles Iheanacho, “not having to be underground about it and be all sneaky.”
But more importantly he sees it as a huge business opportunity.
“That is the ultimate goal: to make money,” he said. “That’s why I’m in business.”
As he waits to hear from the state, scenes from Colorado have marijuana advocates in Washington excited.
“I believe it’s an amazing thing,” said legal marijuana supporter Nick Roberts. “It’s a great start to noticing the values of this plant.”
But not everybody in Washington is rejoicing. Business owner Alex Koyev told KGW he’s worried marijuana will be more easily accessible to children.
“I wouldn’t want my children to grow up thinking its normal,” he said.
He added that he’ll still test his employees for marijuana use.
“If we catch them, we fire them,” he said. Retail marijuana stores could open in Washington as early as May.
KGW reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report.