The Washington State Liquor Control Board plans to issue about 20 marijuana retail licenses on July 7. The first pot stores could open the next day -- after a 24-hour waiting period. But the state cautions many stores may not be ready yet for customers and marijuana could be in short supply.
The Liquor Control Board's Brian Smith described an unusual situation where government regulators are moving faster than the private sector.
“What you find is a lot of times there are places that we want to license, that we’re ready to license and they are not ready,” he said.
Even stores that are ready and get a license may decide not open their doors immediately. Smith confirmed that there are supply chain issues.
“Product is going to be a little bit tight as this market emerges,” he said.
But Smith is confident by the end of the summer supply will keep up with demand.
So far, nearly 80 growers have been licensed for enough pot canopy to cover nearly a dozen football fields. The first 20 or so retail licenses will go to stores in more urban areas. Seattle is likely to see the first pot store. Eventually there could be more than 300 marijuana retail outlets statewide.