Number of WA Recreational Cannabis Shops Could Triple

A new law that essentially folds Washington State’s medical cannabis industry into its recreational program could lead to a boom in the number of licensed marijuana stores.

There are an estimated 800 unregulated and unlicensed dispensaries in Washington, all of which may apply for state permits under the new law. Around 400 may be eligible to receive licenses, according to

Currently, the state has licensed 196 recreational marijuana shops.

The bottom line is that there’s no strict cap on the number of new licenses that may be granted, Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board spokesman Brian Smith told the news outlet.

This means any dispensary that wants to survive the next year has to get a state license under the recreational program. That in turn means a big boom in legal retailers, which will be allowed to serve both medical patients and adult-use customers.

Although that may concern some current rec shop owners who aren’t looking for more competition, Smith argued that it’ll prove beneficial in the long run by further undercutting the black market and putting rec shops and dispensaries on the same regulatory footing.

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John Schroyer

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