Man offers $1 million for chance at retail pot license
SEATTLE - The owner of a Seattle medical marijuana business has a dream: to offer pot not just to patients, but to any adult who would like to use the now legal drug.
"I've got money. I've got the will. I just need somebody to step forward who wants to make a million dollars," said Chris McDoniel. He started Seattle MMJ Cooperative three years ago, serving medical marijuana patients.
"I know the marijuana business, and want to make the transition to retail, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to get a license," he said.
McDoniel applied for one of the 21 licenses allocated in the City of Seattle, but of the 191 applicants, he drew number 104 in the lottery used to choose licensees. That means he will not get a chance to open a store, and has no idea when or if the Liquor Control Board will ever approve that many stores in the city.
His only option is to find somebody who will receive a retail license and is willing to "sell" it for a million dollars.
The state is allowing 334 retail outlets to launch the legal marijuana marketplace. Applicants are forbidden to sell their licenses, but the rules allow somebody to sell their business, which would essentially amount to the same thing.
McDoniel says there are a lot of people wheeling and dealing to make deals as a critical deadline approaches. All applicants who won the opportunity for a retail license must have final documentation in by May 28th, listing the owner of the marijuana store and an address.
"I did everything by the book when I applied, unlike many others out there," McDoniel said. "A lot of applicants had all of their family members and friends put their names down for the very same location, stacking the deck."
He also says there are a lot of investors from out of state trying to get a piece of the action. McDoniel says he believes the burgeoning pot retail business belongs in the hands of locals who care about their communities.
McDoniel and his partner are actively courting those who will get licenses. They are prepared to negotiate.
They are also looking for investors as they position themselves for a future selling retail cannabis.
"We're throwing everything we have at this. We know how to do it, and we know how to do it right," McDoniel said. "We just need somebody willing to take our money, a lot of money, in exchange for a license."