Post-Cannabis-Retail-Lottery FAQs

Q: Why did the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) hold lotteries for retail stores?

A: I-502 directed the LCB to limit the number of retail stores per county. The LCB chose a lottery system as the most fair and equitable system for issuing licenses where there were more applications than stores allotted.

Q: Who conducted the lotteries?

A: The lotteries were run by Washington State University’s Social and Economic Research Center and overseen by the accounting firm for Washington’s Lottery Kraght-Snell. A representative of the Washington State Treasurer’s Office verified the results.

Q: How many lotteries were held?

A: 75 jurisdictions required a lottery.

Q: How many jurisdictions did not require a lottery?

A: 47 jurisdictions did not require a lottery?

Q: How can I see the results?

A: The ranked-ordered lists of each lottery, as well as those jurisdictions where there wasn’t a lottery, are posted on the public records section of the Liquor and Cannabis Board website. 

Q: What will happen to those jurisdictions where a store was allotted but no one applied or qualified for a license?

A: It has not yet been determined how those jurisdictions will be handled. The LCB will consider those locations after they get through processing the initial round of applications. The agency’s focus is on establishing the marketplace in communities where there are applications.

Q: May I move my location?

A: There are limits on circumstances when an applicant may move locations. Below are examples of permitted and not permitted reasons for moving a license prior to licensure.

Prior to Licensure 
Permitted  Not Permitted
Multiple qualifying applicants at the same location each with a valid “right to the real property;” Lottery “winner” who falsifies the right to real property form…Licensing will seek denial;
Lottery “winner” who had a valid right to the real property, but the landlord changed their mind and will no longer permit the lease or build out of this facility; Lottery “winner” whose location does not qualify after further investigation…Licensing will seek denial;
Lottery “winner” with valid right to real property but is unable to build at this site because of zoning or other local authority restrictions beyond the applicant’s control; Lottery “winners” are not permitted at any time to move outside the jurisdiction in which they applied. This is also true of communities where bans or moratoria have been placed by the city or county;
Lottery “winner” with valid right to real property that receives an objection by the local authority due to community or other concerns about requested location;  
Lottery “winner” who finds another compliant location superior to the location at which they originally applied;  
Lottery “winner” who is unable to negotiate either a lease or purchase of the property for which they held the right at time of application  

Q: What happens if multiple people applied at a single location and more than one applicant draws a top spot in the lottery?

A: If there were multiple lottery “winners” who applied at the same address the landlord may lease to the party he/she chooses. Any others may change to another location within that jurisdiction.

Q: Can I buy the business or license from someone who “won” a lottery?

A:  The LCB is not permitting the sale of "winning lottery ticket". The entity that pre-qualified and was selected in the lottery process must obtain a license before being able to sell their business to another entity. The purchasing entity also will have the ability to change location within the same jurisdiction to a compliant location.

Q: May I add or remove people from my license application?

A: You may add new parties to your license application prior to your initial interview with your license investigator. However, you may not remove parties from your application until you have been issued a license.

Q: What if I want to challenge the LCB’s denial of my application. Is there an appeal process? What can I expect?

A: Applicants may submit a letter requesting an appeal of the LCB staff’s determination.

  • Applicants can expect a document entitled Notice of Intent to Deny. This document and the associated cover letter will clearly outline both the specific reason for disqualification and how the appeal process can be started.
  • Applicants who are entitled to an appeal may have a hearing before a hearings officer (judge) whether the LCB’s staff determination was correct.
  • It will be the hearing’s office role to make a recommendation to the Liquor and Cannabis Board. The Liquor and Cannabis Board has the final decision and all Board decisions are appealable to Superior Court.


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