Concerned there might not be enough legal pot stores to meet demand in Seattle, City Attorney Pete Holmes asked the state Liquor Control Board to consider increasing the number of retail licenses in the city.
The board has allocated 21 stores to Seattle in a plan similar to the way liquor stores were distributed around the state, before voters privatized the liquor market.
Holmes said his concern is that the illicit market will meet demand if there aren’t enough legal pot stores, and that could undermine the purpose of a regulated and taxed recreational-pot system.
Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith said it’s quite likely Seattle could eventually have more than 21 stores.
Seattle’s allocation is based on population and consumption, Smith said. The initial allocation is based on the retail stores capturing just 25 percent of the overall market in the first year. The board can open up additional stores at its discretion. “It’s fair to say that we anticipate adding additional stores as the market matures and more adults get used to going to state-licensed retail stores,” Smith said.
“We ask that the Board carefully monitor supply and demand for recreational marijuana as soon as the licensed dispensers begin sales and consider issuing additional licenses later in 2014 for dispensers in Seattle if the 21 initial licenses are insufficient to meet demand in our city,” Holmes wrote in a letter Thursday.
Holmes was a sponsor of Initiative 502, which voters approved in November 2012, legalizing adult possession of small amounts of weed.
On Monday, the Seattle City Council is scheduled to vote on zoning for pot commerce in the city. The location of stores in the city is constrained by the legal-pot law’s 1,000-foot buffer between pot businesses and places frequented by youth, such as schools, parks and playgrounds.