Washington issues first legal pot business license

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 5, 2014 at 6:47 pm •  Published: March 5, 2014
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Green said he has lost bank accounts six times because of his connection to the pot industry, most recently last week. He already found another one but isn't sure how long he'll be able to keep it.

Green said he got involved in the industry after his decade-long career as an independent real-estate appraiser dried up. He took $10,000 and started Pacific Northwest Medical in Shoreline in 2011, later expanding to Spokane.

He plans to begin by growing 1,200 square feet of starter plants to provide to other growers as they become licensed. He said he plans expand to growing marijuana buds for retail, with 30 to 50 employees. For now, he plans to also continue running his medical operations, though the Legislature is considering whether to bring medical marijuana into the same system as recreational pot.

Green also said he plans to make cannabis-infused candies, as well as what he described as a "super joint," an ultra-strong marijuana cigarette made with cannabis oil and flowers.

Derek Franklin, president of the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, said he found it troubling that Green was getting the first license, with the message sent by the "Kouchlock" name as well as the idea of the "super joint."

"There doesn't seem to be much attention being paid to public health and public safety," he said.

Though the board praised Green for following the rules, some questions remained about his medical marijuana business. As first discovered by The Seattle Times, two of Pacific Northwest Medical's former employees filed complaints with the state Department of Labor and Industries alleging it had withheld their wages. The wages, totaling more than $1,600, were later paid, records show.

One of the complainants also alleged Green had sexually harassed another employee.

Department spokesman Matthew Erlich confirmed Labor and Industries received the two complaints. He said the agency would have referred the complainant who alleged sexual harassment to the state Human Rights Commission.

The commission said it never received any sexual harassment complaint concerning Green or his company.

Green said twice at a news conference he was unaware of the complaints. But Erlich later contradicted that, saying in an email to The Associated Press that the department dealt directly with Green to get the complaints resolved.

The liquor board's director said staff would not have considered the civil complaints in deciding whether to give Green a license.

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