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Wednesday, May 14, 2014 • The Islands’ Sounder


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Only one pot store for Orcas County clerk candidate by STEVE WEHRLY Journal reporter

If you’re looking to buy a bag of legal pot on Lopez Island, don’t hold your breath. Both applicants for marijuana retail store licenses on Lopez failed to provide qualifying applications to the Washington State Liquor Control Board, charged by Initiative 502 to implement and regulate marijuana legalization in the state. Those on Lopez will have to travel offisland to score legal weed, at least until the board reopens the window to apply for a marijuana retailer license later this summer. But Lopezians won’t have to travel far. Potential retailers were approved for Orcas and San Juan Island, one for each. Only one of two applicants for a retail pot shop on Orcas Island, apparently to be named “Token Herb,” survived the initial application screen. The application for Token Herb listed 837A Crescent Beach Road in Eastsound as its potential store location. Two applications were originally filed for Orcas, but only Token Herb survived the first cut, thus obviating the need for a lottery drawing. A lottery was required for San Juan Island, however, where 13 applicants vied for one retail marijuana store. Lawrence Enterprises of San Juan Island won that lottery. Assuming that further financial and criminal background checks are satisfactory, a retail store for sale of marijuana, pot products and paraphernalia could be opened in Friday Harbor as early as July, according to Mikhail Carpenter of the Liquor Control Board in Olympia.

James Lawrence, owner-operator of Thirsty Goose Farms on Boyce Road, is listed by the corporation division of the Washington Secretary of State as registered agent and manager of Lawrence Enterprises at 51 Boyce Road, also the address of Thirsty Goose Farms. A telephone message left by Sounder/Journal staff for Lawrence was not returned. The liquor board reported that 1174 applicants filed for retail licenses at 334 locations in the state. Only 75 of 123 jurisdictions which were awarded stores required lotteries to determine who would receive a license. Unconfirmed reports said that offers up to $250,000 have already been made to purchase businesses with approved license locations. The board said that businesses with retail marijuana licenses could be sold, but that any buyer would have to apply for a marijuana retailer license and pass background and financial checks before the liquor board would issue a license. The business could be moved at that point, but it would have to remain within the jurisdiction where the license was originally approved. Meanwhile, the board has been busy issuing marijuana grower and processor licenses to provide product to stores when licensed. Twenty-nine marijuana production licenses have been granted, mostly in eastern Washington, but locally licenses have been issued to growers in Everett, Sequim, Port Angeles, Bremerton and Silverdale.

Washington: pedal power by STEVE WEHRLY Journal reporter

No one at the Lopez Chamber of Commerce was surprised that Washington was named America's "Most Bicycle-Friendly State" for the seventh year in a row by the League of American Bicyclists, especially after sponsoring what proved to be yet another successful Tour de Lopez on April 26. Akin to annual boat parades opening the summer boating season, the Lopez bike ride opens biking season in the San Juans. The non-competitive Tour around three different courses on Lopez is an annual introduction to Washington’s participation in the 58th annual National Bike Month. Organized for the 11th straight year by Becky Smith, the annual ride welcomed more than 800 riders who contributed more than $11,000 to defray the costs of operating Lopez Village Park. “What a great summer season kick-off,” Smith said. “Everybody had a great time and we’re all looking

forward to the 12th Annual Tour next year.” After another successful island ride introduced Washington Bike Month so appropriately, the Lopez Chamber’s Lia Noreen said, “We think Lopez and the San Juan Islands are a big reason the state’s been honored seven years in a row, and we’re happy it came just a few days after our successful event.” Washington Governor

Jay Inslee signed the May Bike Month proclamation and lauded the benefits of biking and the bike-friendly award. “As a bike rider I get to see firsthand all that Washington has done to make bicycling part of a sustainable transportation system,” Inslee said. For more about the League of American Bicyclists, go to bikeleague. org.

Nancy Vejvoda, pictured at right, has announced her candidacy for San Juan County Clerk. Vejvoda moved to San Juan in 1992 to work as an educator with the San Juan Island School District and was the manager at a hardware store for eight years. She has worked as district court clerk for the past three years. Vejvoda is an active member and past president of the American Legion Auxiliary, board member of the Animal Protection Society and former 4-H leader.

Quarterly review of finances by F. MILENE HENLEY County Auditor

Being a somewhat superstitious person, I’ve always been reluctant to trumpet good news. This reluctance comes across, at times, as pessimism. I’m not really pessimistic, though; I’d just rather be surprised by good news than by bad. Which may be why, out of an abundance of caution, each year for the past three I have expressed concern, based on first quarter sales tax receipts, about the county’s ability to achieve budgeted revenue. Yet each year we have achieved sales tax projections – and in 2012 and 2013, overall revenue projections – by the end of the year. My current concern is the opposite of the last three years. I’m worried that, by saying that we’re having a good first quarter, I’ll jinx the rest of the year. But (fingers crossed), here’s the good news so far. Total sales tax revenues in the first quarter of 2014 were predictably higher than in previous first quarters. After all, this is the first year in which the Public Safety Sales Tax, adopted by the voters in November 2012, has been in effect for the first quarter. But even looking at just the local option sales tax – the base 1 percent that the county gets – first

quarter 2014 is the highest since 2008. Following a strong sales tax finish in 2013, this adds fuel to the hope that some sectors of the economy may finally be recovered. Real estate is another sector which appears (knock on wood) to be recovering. Sales in the first quarter of 2014 were up more than 100 percent over the same period last year. Average prices were up barely 4 percent, however, as inventory continues to climb and therefore suppress prices. But the large volume generated higher-than-expected real estate excise taxes (REET) for the county. Like sales taxes, Land Bank taxes – a subset of REET – experienced their highest first quarter since 2008. REET can be used only for only capital assets, but we have enough deferred capital maintenance in the county that the capital dollars are much appreciated. Permitting revenue in the County’s Community Development and Planning Department had a truly extraordinary first quarter.

This spike is easy to explain, as the March 31 effective date for Critical Areas Ordinance clearly motivated a lot of permit applications. Still, the sharp peak portends, like a found penny, more economic activity, and more revenue, to come. Across the board, in fact, most revenue sources are starting out 2014 in fine form. One insignificant but fun little revenue source, which was up sharply in 2013 and continues strong in 2014, is marriage license applications. The legalization of same-gender marriages in 2012 probably had something to do with that performance. Still, the dramatic uptick in marriage applications suggests much more than an economy’s recovery. It suggests hope, and we can all use a little of that. So hang a horseshoe over your door, avoid ladders and broken mirrors, hold onto four-leaf clovers and rabbits’ feet, and always, always wear your lucky socks when the Mariners play. And maybe this early “luck” will stay with us all year.

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Islands' Sounder, May 14, 2014  

May 14, 2014 edition of the Islands' Sounder

Islands' Sounder, May 14, 2014  

May 14, 2014 edition of the Islands' Sounder