A Spokane man is the proud holder of Washington state's first legal marijuana license to grow pot.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board issued the first license Wednesday during a board meeting at its headquarters in Olympia to Sean Green, who will operate his business under the name Kouchlock Productions. The name refers to the phenomenon of being too stoned to get off the couch.
The license allows Green, who has run medical marijuana dispensaries in Shoreline and Spokane the past few year, to grow 21,000 square feet of pot.
Green plans to start by raising marijuana starter plants to sell to other growers at his Spokane operation, and later expand to growing buds for retail pot shops.
"Cannabis prohibition is over," Green declared to applause from a room packed with his supporters. "I'm coming home with jobs, Spokane."
"There was definitely a sense of elation," says Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter. "A lot of hard work goes into doing these licenses - they're very involved, they take a lot of time and effort, and what you saw today is the culmination of that."
Green's application was one of over 2,800 currently being processed by the Liquor Control Board. Officials say licenses will be continuously issued as they are ready. The board began accepting license applications in November and has been checking the finances and backgrounds of applicants, as well as reviewing their business plans.
Among the last steps in the process are for applicants to undergo an inspection of their business premises and to check to make sure their business systems are compatible with the state's technology for tracking the marijuana.
Carpenter says the board is due to begin issuing retail licenses later this spring, and sales could begin in June or July.
Green said he got involved in the industry after his decade-long career as an independent real-estate appraiser dried up. He took $10,000 and started Pacific Northwest Medical in Shoreline in 2011, later expanding to Spokane.
He plans to begin by growing 1,200 square feet of starter plants to provide to other growers as they become licensed. He said he plans to expand to growing marijuana buds for retail, with 30 to 50 employees. For now, he plans to also continue running his medical operations, though the Legislature is considering whether to bring medical marijuana into the same system as recreational pot.
Green also said he plans to make cannabis-infused candies, as well as what he described as a "super joint," an ultra-strong marijuana cigarette made with cannabis oil and flowers.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.