SEATTLE - The Washington State Liquor Control Board says there have been nearly 5,000 applications to get into the marijuana business.

The LCB announced Tuesday that it has received 4,946 applications to be either a producer, processor, or retailer of marijuana.

The applications include 1,312 proposed retail outlets, but only 334 will be granted to operate stores, so some areas are expected to face a lottery for retail licenses.

There were also 2,113 applications growing licenses and 1,512 processing applications.

LCB spokesman Mikhail Carpenter says he expects the agency to start issuing licenses in February or early March, and it may not be until June before businesses are up and running.

John Davis, who runs a licensed dispensary in West Seattle called the Northwest Patient Resource Center, has submitted three applications.

Like Cannibus or don't like cannibus. What e're doing certainly is not prohibiting anything. We're trying a more rational approach, he said.

The application window closed Dec. 20, but there s still a backlog of submissions officials are working through.

Colorado will be the first state in the union to allow licensed, legal sales on January 1.

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