Washington State’s first recreational marijuana license was designated to Spokane’s Sean Green yesterday by the Washington State Liquor Control Board in Olympia. Green has prior experience operating medical dispensaries in Spokane and the Seattle suburb of Shoreline. His company is named “Kouchlock” and, based in Spokane, first plans to sell young marijuana plants to other interested growers as their licenses get distributed in the coming weeks, and will eventually focus on marijuana production for retail consumption.
“This is a historic day,” said Board Chair Sharon Foster, according to the WSLCB’s announcement email yesterday morning, “The hard work and preparation this agency has done has laid the foundation to make this pioneering endeavor a success.”
The Board praised Green’s application, which was also the first application to be fully completed: “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.” Not that Washington actually has much reason to worry about a lack of willing participants: the Board says it had expected about 2,200 applicants to express interest, but actually received more than 7,000 applications. Green’s application process required criminal and financial background checks, developing a fully-laid-out business plan, and finding a proper site for his business located far from schools or daycares.
Green, naturally, is also quite excited. “Cannabis prohibition is over,” he happily declared to a room of supporters after receiving the license. “I’m coming home with jobs, Spokane,” he promised. His 3rd-tier license allows for both production and processing of cannabis products, though his site of operations must be no larger than 21,000 square feet. Under his Board-approved business plan, he expects to someday employ between 30 and 50 employees.
“It’s easy to talk about what marijuana legalization might look like,” says Seattle attorney Alison Holcomb, who headed the state’s legalization campaign in 2012. “It’s a much different thing to see it roll out.”
Of course, the landmark licensing was unable to please every onlooker. Derek Franklin, president of the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, claims to be troubled by Green’s company’s name and his personal goal for a future product. The name, ‘Kouchlock,” sends a message alluding to a state of stonedness that prevents even rising off the couch–Green’s coinciding dream product, the “super joint,” has been described as an “ultra-strong marijuana cigarette made with cannabis oil and flowers.”
Franklin’s complaint? “There doesn’t seem to be much attention being paid to public health and public safety,” he said. While that may sound more like an issue with Green’s business plan and less like a complaint about the WSLCB’s licensing process, marijuana remains federally illegal and the political climate of the cannabis industry will likely remain uncertain until that changes.
Photo Credit: Brian Stalter