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Vashon marijuana shop chosen in state lottery
Vashon is one step closer to having a recreational marijuana shop in town.
One of two companies that applied to open retail marijuana stores on Vashon was selected in a state lottery for retail marijuana licenses, according to a state Liquor Control Board (LCB) announcement last Friday.
Emerald Botanicals LLC, which is registered to a Seattle woman, applied to open a marijuana store at the former Vashon Family Practice building at the south end of town. The building has been for sale for about two years.
Being selected in the lottery doesn’t guarantee a shop will go in at that location, said Mikhail Carpenter, an LCB spokesman. Emerald Botanicals must still complete the application process, which includes criminal and financial background checks of everyone involved with the new business. The company must secure the building, provide business plans that meet LCB requirements, install security systems and pass a final inspection before doors can open. Mikhail said the LCB expects to begin issuing licenses in late June or early July.
“It’s a complex process before they can get a license,” he said.
Neither the Vashon Family Practice building’s owner, Sjardo Steneker, nor the main applicant, Lindsay Buchan, returned calls seeking comment. In a previous email to The Beachcomber, Steneker said he had been trying to sell his building for two years.
“I would love to sell to someone who will enjoy it as much as I did,” he said.
According to LCB documents, Buchan, 34, is a member of the LLC and works as a hairdresser in Seattle. She is currently the only LLC member listed in Secretary of State records.
Emerald Botanicals also applied for retail stores in two other places — Seattle and Rockport — but neither of them was chosen in the lottery.
According to LCB documents, before Emerald Botanicals entered the lottery, Buchan submitted documents to be pre-screened by the state and Steneker signed a letter of intent from Emerald Botanicals to purchase the building. The letter was not a sale agreement but outlined the terms under which the company would be willing to negotiate a purchase. The letter lists a potential purchase price of $850,000 and reads that the building would be used for the sale of marijuana and marijuana products and the “rear of the space shall be used for a testing facility.”
In a complex lottery completed by the state last month, random numbers were assigned to applicants in 76 cities and counties where there were more applications for marijuana stores than there are licenses available, including unincorporated King County, which was allotted 11 licenses. Emerald Botanicals received lottery number five, meaning it moved on in the process.
Another company that applied for a store on Vashon, Ayurveda Works, didn’t make the cut, being assigned number 27 in the lottery.
Ayurveda Works, which is also registered to an off-island woman, applied to open a store in the former King County Sheriff’s Office substation space at Courthouse Square, which is owned by Tom Bangasser.
Carpenter said that if any of the companies selected in the state’s lottery drop out of the licensing process or are unable to meet LCB requirements, the next applicants in line will be considered. In Ayurveda Works’ case, 16 applicants would have to drop out before it could be considered for a license on Vashon.
Emerald Botanicals didn’t have as much luck with its other two applications. Its application for a store in Seattle, where 21 licenses will be given, likely won’t move forward, as it got number 107. And its application for a store in Rockport was assigned number nine in the lottery for unincorporated Skagit County, where just four licenses will be given.
The LCB will begin issuing licenses in the most populated parts of the state first. Carpenter said the state wants to get stores open in populous places first, and some of the less populated cities and counties have banned marijuana business, creating a conflict each jurisdiction will have to address.
Carpenter said the state expects legal marijuana sales will begin in July, but it could be almost a year before final retail licenses are given.
“It’s hard to tell because everyone goes through the licensing process at their own pace,” he said. “For every person ready to go the minute they get their license, we have other people who have vacant lots they intend to build on.”