Marijuana retailer is still waiting approval from city leaders

CLARKSTON, WA - Today is the first day for marijuana sales in Washington State, but what about in Clarkston or Asotin County?

The state's Liquor Control Board issued the first two dozen retail marijuana licenses early Monday morning, and stores opened around the state at eight this morning. The Cities of Clarkston and Asotin do not have any marijuana shops opening today.

Not one person applied to sell marijuana in the county, but one person who's applied to sell in Clarkston says he's eager to get business going.

Clarkston Resident Kelly Jackson said the state's Liquor Control Board contacted him almost a month ago, asking if he was ready to open shop today. He had to say no because city leaders are still deciding where the pot can be sold.

Jackson said he wanted to get into the marijuana business because two years ago his doctor recommended trying cannabis for his asthma, and ever since then he has been asthma free.

"I had asthma for 44 years, so to not have it anymore, that means I can breathe again," said Jackson. "That's why I'm going to sell this stuff in town. I want every person that has that condition to feel as good as I do today."

Marijuana cannot be sold anywhere within 1,000 feet of where kids are. That includes schools, playgrounds, public parks, child care facilities and other areas kids visit frequently.

"When we saw that there were only a couple buildings we just went ahead and bought the best one of the bunch," said Jackson.

If Jackson receives his retail license he will be selling marijuana at the old armory building on Sixth Street in Clarkston."

Asotin County Planner, Karst Riggers, said people who get a license in Asotin County need to be aware of specific ordinances that pertain to the marijuana business. In Asotin County anyone who wants to grow, process or sell marijuana has to get permission from county commissioners.

"This is because the county zoned specific areas as conditional use," said Riggers. "It's not permitted outright in any zone. So, people do need to obtain that conditional use permit in order to operate."

This is a process that can take many months. Leaders from Clarkston planning and zoning commission have put together their zoning map and they'll be showing it to city council members at Monday night's meeting.

The first pot purchase in the state was at Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham. Two grams of pot sold for $26.50.