Pete O’Neil saw Washington’s legalization of marijuana in 2012 as a path to retirement, or at least to his kids’ college tuition.
He’s paid tens of thousands of dollars in rent on possible locations for a pot-shop chain, hired lawyers and picked out flooring. But now the United States’ second legal recreational marijuana industry is about to start without him.
O’Neil struck out in Washington’s lottery for coveted pot-shop licenses. He has unsuccessfully tried to buy companies that scored a lucky number. In frustration, he’s turning what would have been his Seattle retail store into a medical marijuana dispensary.
“Our company is bleeding money, and I haven’t sold a single joint,” O’Neil says.
As Washington plows toward the legal pot promised land, it’s finding that getting the cannabis market off the ground has been even tougher than anyone imagined.
Among the frustrated are growers who have been waiting months for permission to start raising their bar-coded plants; advocates who wish more public health messaging had been done by now; and would-be pot vendors like O’Neil who say bad luck, minor oversights on their applications, or errors by state officials have torpedoed otherwise promising efforts.
– Read the entire article at The Globe and Mail.