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Three Redmond applicants selected in Liquor Control Board lottery results for marijuana retail shops

Earlier this week, three Redmond applicants were selected as part of 75 marijuana retail store lotteries by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB).

The independent, double-blind process took place April 21-25 and produced ordered lists of applicants that the agency will use to continue its retail licensing process. If an applicant is within the maximum number of stores allotted for that jurisdiction but fails to pass the licensing process, the WSLCB will withdraw the application and move to the next license application on the list.

The three Redmond retail applicants are listed in the lottery results on the WSLCB website in the public records section. They are listed in the following order: The Grass is Always Greener (7867 Leary Way N.E.), W&L Holdings (8210 Avondale Way N.E.) and Diamond Medical (8771 148th Ave. N.E.). These are the top-three ranked businesses; Redmond is allotted two potential retail spots.

POTENTIAL SITES

The proposed location for The Grass is Always Greener is in downtown between Palmers East and Mieko’s Clips. Currently, the storefront is empty with the words “Walk-ins Welcome” painted on the glass door. The Reporter was unable to connect with anyone affiliated with the proposed business.

The proposed site for W&L Holdings is located at Championship Motors, a used car facility that was built in 2002 and is owned by brothers David Spencer and Steven Spencer.

David said they were recently approached by a business venture interested in leasing their facility as a retail marijuana facility.

“As owners of commercial property, (Steven and I) are interested in ascertaining the highest and best use for that property, and being selected in the lottery only enhances our commercial property value,” David said.

He added that with the City of Redmond’s current moratorium on all marijuana-related regulations, he and his brother entered a non-binding letter of intent with W&L Holdings to see how things would work out with the lottery.

“At this time there are no plans to change Championship Motors from a quality used car facility,” David said. “We will watch with interest as this new retail arena is implemented statewide to determine the validity of retail marijuana and may move in this direction in the future, as circumstances dictate. For now, the moratorium set in place by the City of Redmond precludes all other activity.”

The proposed site for Diamond Medical is in a business park and would possibly be located in an 8,000 square-foot warehouse connected to FTI Group, a company that specializes in high-security laser checks such as fingerprint checks to protect people from theft, and sells them to distributors.

Sarkis Johnsen, who is the stepson of FTI owner Robert Diamond, said they applied for a retail application because it is always good to be on the leading edge of any industry.

“My dad said, ‘If they’re going to make it legal, why not go for it?’” Johnsen said.

Johnsen said it has been tricky with the city’s moratorium, but they are ready with a long-term plan if they are given a license. He added that they plan on having a secure store with everything locked up under glass prior to purchase.

As for being ranked third, Johnsen said, “I’m happy with No. 3, if the other applications don’t come through, I’m ready.”

POSSIBLE ZONING CHANGES

Although Redmond has been allotted two potential retail spots, a Reporter story in February states that with the way the city is laid out and zoned, the only marijuana-related businesses that would be allowed are production or processing businesses. In the story, Deborah Farris, a code enforcement officer for the City of Redmond, said, “there’s no retail (space) where they could go” that would meet the 1,000-foot buffer criteria.

Anne Marie Peacock, communications specialist for the city, said this has not changed and it is still to early to know if any rezoning will be done to allow for marijuana retail businesses.

The city’s current moratorium on all marijuana-related regulations runs through Sept. 2, but the topic has been on the agenda for City Council at previous study sessions and for future study sessions. The first study session was April 22 and the next one will be Tuesday, Peacock said.

In a memo to City Council, the Redmond Planning Commission “recommends the adoption of permanent regulations to allow marijuana and marijuana-uses in all zones throughout the City that are compliant with (the state’s application process, qualifications and requirements to obtain and maintain a marijuana license) and local land use zoning regulations.”

The Planning Commission also recommended that amendments should be made to the Redmond Zoning Code to adopt the permanent regulations listed above and to require all marijuana processing, producing and retail be “conducted in a permanent structure.” The latter would prevent “all marijuana and marijuana-related uses within the City, from being conducted in less secure temporary/mobile type structures.”

WHAT’S NEXT

WSLCB licensing staff will continue to process producer, processor and retailer licenses simultaneously. As of April 30, the WSLCB has issued 25 producer and processor licenses. The agency expects to begin issuing retail licenses no later than the first week of July.

Redmond Reporter editor Andy Nystrom contributed to this article.

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