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Will Pot Stores in Benton-Franklin Counties Ever Happen?

Pot stores probably many months away in Mid-Columbia
Pot stores probably many months away in Mid-Columbia (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

There’s been so much talk about cities and counties around the state, including Yakima, but will pot stores actually open in the Mid-Columbia? Here’s what we know now.

According to the Walla Walla Union Bulletin and other sources:

  • The state Liquor Control Board has received 14 grower license applications for Franklin County, along with 10 processor and 11 retailer applications.   Newstalk 870 reported earlier last week the state will start granting actual licenses the last week of April.
  • The state plans to allow up to 10 retail locations in Benton County.
  • The state plans to eventually allow four retailers inside the Pasco City Limits,  one outside in Franklin County.
  • Benton County has approved marijuana-related business in the unincorporated areas of the county as long as they meet all the state rules. One grower application has already been granted by the state for outside of the city.
  • Richland, Pasco, Kennewick and West Richland have temporary moratoriums on pot-related businesses within city limits.
  • In mid-March, Franklin County officials extended a temporary moratorium on pot-related business another six months.  It had been set to expire March 11th of this year.

Benton and Franklin County officials, along with Tri-Cities area leaders, are using the moratoriums to develop regulations that will address the state marijuana stores.  They are also waiting for the Liquor Control Board to possibly come out with new rules and regulations, after which the local jurisdictions can decide how they want the stores overseen.

For example, according to,   the City of Kennewick doesn’t have ANY regulations or statutes on the books regarding the growth, production and sale of marijuana.   City officials will not allow pot stores until they believe they have a thorough and effective set of rules and regulations in place that cover as many potential issues as possible.

These moratoriums are considered “temporary” and can be lifted early.

So, in the short to mid-term, don’t be looking to get a legal “pot” fix in the Mid-Columbia anytime soon.


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