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May 7, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Pot lottery loser buys winning location

The wheeling and dealing has started for lottery-winning pot store locations.

Seattle-based C & C Shop, which struck out in the recent lottery, announced Tuesday it bought Bremerton’s Better Buds, a lottery winner.

“We placed another bet on this new industry’s future,” said Pete O’Neil, spokesman for C & C, which applied for stores in Bremerton, Lynnwood and Seattle.

O’Neil’s team bought Better Buds from owner Dave Comeau for $150,000. Comeau also gets $10,000 per month, or 10 percent of the Bremerton’s store net revenue, in perpetuity, in the deal, Comeau said.

The lottery is expected to kick off a flurry of activity – a “green rush” pot entrepreneur Ryan Kunkel called it — as losers try to partner with winners for the state’s proposed 334 stores across the state. There may only be 305 stores initially because no one applied for 29 licenses, mostly in rural areas.

The state held a lottery because there were 1,174 applicants who got through initial screening for licenses vying for the 305 store licenses.

Comeau, 36, said he’s been growing medical marijuana for six years. It was tough to sell, he said, but the decision “ultimately came down to partnering with someone who can take this to the next level.”

C & C has access to capital and connections to growers, he said, that should help the store secure supply and start successfully.

As for his windfall, Comeau said, “you can see why the lottery is a golden ticket for some.”

Attorneys already are advising clients on procedures and restrictions for buying lottery-winning businesses.

State rules do not allow lottery winners to sell their coveted retail licenses. But they can sell their businesses. The new owners have to apply for licenses and have their criminal backgrounds checked, as well as have their financial and operational plans approved by state regulators. Then they must build out their stores and pass final inspection before getting a license.

The state expects to start issuing licenses for the adults-only stores by early July.

Comments | More in Government | Topics: Initiative 502, marijuana, pot lottery

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