More than 3,700 marijuana business applications have now been filed in Washington state, including 78 retail applications in Clark County made by 54 applicants.
The number of county applicants represented a big increase from the 45 applicants reported on Dec. 16. Clark County is approved for 15 sellers total, so there will be a lottery by the Washington State Liquor Control Board to narrow down the applications after they are reviewed.
Statewide, Washington's Liquor Control Board reported applications for 867 proposed retail outlets spanning from Point Roberts to Pullman.
The Liquor Control Board released the updated figures Tuesday, saying it had received 3,746 applications to grow, process or sell cannabis under Washington's recreational pot law passed by voters last year. The application window closed last week, but board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter said there is still a backlog of submissions that haven't been processed yet.
Carpenter said it's premature to dissect the numbers, because it's not clear how many of the applications are viable. He said it appears some applicants hadn't done the work to identify a business location.
"It's really hard to tell how many of these are legitimate," Carpenter said.
New retail applicants that appear to be looking at multiple locations in Clark County include Bella Flora, which listed sites in Camas, Washougal and Vancouver. Other newly listed county applicants specified two locations, including Blow "N" Smoke & Glass, Clark County Cannabis, Columbia Herbal and Herb and Accessories.
Five Clark County applications were filed under the name Mary Jane's House of Cannabis and Mary Jane's House of Marijuana. Mary Jane's House of Glass is a Vancouver-based chain of nine smoking accessory shops.
Other applicants with more than one Clark County location are New Vansterdam and Green Bliss, each with applications for three spots in the county. Holiday Green Corp. has three applications for two spots, and Green Genes and Cannabee each have applications for two spots.
The number of processing and growing license applicants from Clark County also grew over the past week. As of Tuesday, the board had received 63 processing applications, up from 44 listed on Dec. 16. It received 82 grower license applications by Tuesday, up from 56 applicants on Dec. 16.
Investigators have already started reviewing applicants, and the state hopes to begin issuing licenses at the end of February. Applicants must undergo background checks, be residents of Washington state and have their business areas inspected by the state.
The state will put growers and processors through the licensing process first, as part of an effort to stock the newly emerging market, according to officials from the Liquor Control Board. The agency will allow an unlimited number of growers and processors to apply, although the three-member board established rules in September that limit marijuana production to 40 metric tons, or a little more than 88,000 pounds, for 2014.
Along with 1,670 producer applications and 1,209 processor applications, the state has released details on 867 proposed retail outlets. The state is planning to cap the number of pot shops at 334 statewide, so some areas are expected to face a lottery for retail licenses.
After the first licenses are issued, the state expects it will take some time for marijuana to move through the system from production to sale.
The federal government announced earlier this year that it would not sue Washington and Colorado over plans to tax and regulate marijuana sales for adults older than 21, provided they address eight federal law enforcement priorities, including keeping pot off the black market and away from kids.
Mike Baker of The Associated Press contributed to this story.