Celebration, Angst as State Starts Accepting Pot License Applications

Nov 18, 2013

The 30-day window for marijuana business licenses applications has opened in Washington. Would-be growers, processors and retailers applied online and in-person Monday.

At the Department of Revenue business licensing office, the flow of in-person applicants was more of a trickle, not a torrent on this historic day.

“This is absolutely amazing,” said Jeff Gilmore, who was among the first to apply for a license to grow legal pot after a career of growing illegally. “The state of Washington took two years of my life for growing marijuana two decades ago.”

Now, Gilmore says, he’s trading the risk of incarceration for a different risk.

“If we don’t succeed in business, then we don’t succeed in business,” he said. “We don’t end up in jail.”

Gilmore says it’s “about time” he has the chance to become a law-abiding, taxpaying businessman.

Not everyone’s as eager. Chris Thompson, a former construction worker, feels forced to participate.

“I’m 42 years old. I’ve got pins and screws all over my body. My back’s bad,” said Thompson, who has been growing medical marijuana for the past four years.

“And not only does it make me money, but I help a whole lot of people doing it,” he said.

But Thompson fears the state will soon crackdown on the medical side of the marijuana industry, so, reluctantly, he’s decided to get licensed under Washington’s voter-approved recreational pot system.