According to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board and the Olympian, 962 new businesses have applied for dispensary licenses in the state. This number includes people vying to eventually sell medical or recreational from a storefront, not cultivators or processors.

Another 118 applications were submitted by currently operating recreational dispensaries looking to expand their operations. It remains unclear exactly how many recreational stores to which the cannabis board will grant licenses.

The new application process is part of Washington’s move to incorporate the state’s several hundred medical cannabis dispensaries into the current i502 regulatory framework. The cannabis board is to decide how many stores it will license based on the market demand report, which is still being compiled by consultants.

All existing medical marijuana dispensaries that are currently operating in Washington must obtain a state license by July or close down under the new law. That means many are stuck in a wait-and-see mode.

At a public hearing last week, a number of stakeholders called for a new round of licensing to include medical growers and product manufacturers, instead of only retailers.

Updating existing retail business licenses to include medical marijuana endorsements will be considered through a separate process at a later time. Those dispensaries which receive medical marijuana endorsements will be permitted to sell more product at a lower tax rate to registered patients.

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