Initial rankings from pot license lotteries posted

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SEATTLE (AP) — Washington's Liquor Control Board on Friday released the results of its lotteries for retail marijuana licenses, setting out who gets first crack at securing one of the coveted documents and opening the state's first recreational pot shops this summer.

The board has said it initially will allow no more than 334 pot shops statewide, though in reality there will likely be fewer, because in some jurisdictions, such as Lincoln County, no one applied.

In 75 cities and counties across the state, there were more applicants for retail licenses than stores allotted. The board held lotteries last month to determine who among those 1,174 applicants had the first chance at winning a license.

A favorable rank in the lottery doesn't guarantee a license. Applicants still must pass a background check and financial investigation and meet other requirements before any licenses are issued.

"It's a historic moment. We're looking forward to getting into the details and finally getting this going," said Eugene Frid, who works with Greener Today, a company that received one of the 21 lucky slots in Seattle's lottery.

Nevertheless, he said, the company knows there's more work to be done.

"We are super excited. But we've been going through this process for last six to eight months, attending meetings and seminars, and we feel like we're still maybe halfway there," Frid said.

The first retail sales are expected to begin in July.

More than 2,100 people initially applied for licenses the state planned to issue under the recreational pot law adopted by voters in 2012.

Forty-seven jurisdictions did not require license lotteries.

The lottery process prompted complaints, with several applicants saying they had been disqualified unjustly without a real chance to appeal. A judge halted the announcement of results for the city of Longview until a hearing set for May 7. An applicant there, attorney Liz Hallock, sought the order, arguing the board's reason for disqualifying one of her applications was vague.

The lotteries were double-blind to ensure security, and the board itself played no role in picking winners.

Instead, it supplied the list of prescreened applicants to Kraght-Snell, a Seattle firm that serves as the accountant for the Washington Lottery. That firm randomly assigned numbers to each applicant, and it sent those numbers, without any identifying information, to Washington State University's Social and Economic Sciences Research Center.

The center randomly ordered the numbers provided by the firm, then sent those rankings back to Kraght-Snell to decode them. The lotteries were witnessed by the state treasurer's office.

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Online:

http://www.liq.wa.gov/records/frequently-requested-lists (click on "Marijuana Lottery Results")

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