It goes to Mr. Green, of course! State issues first pot-growing license

In Olympia, Sean Green holds up his newly issued business license allowing him to grow and process recreational marijuana in Washington state. (Photo: KCPQ-TV/Seattle)

OLYMPIA -- The legal marijuana business took a big step forward in Washington, as the state Liquor Control Board on Wednesday issued the first license to grow and process recreational pot.

Sean Green, who got his start in the medical marijuana field and owns two medical pot shops in Spokane and Shoreline, was given the first license to grow marijuana for recreational use.

“We are living the American dream today, right here, right now,” Green said, smiling, as he held up his license.

The 32-year-old will immediately get to work at his new Spokane facility, where he'll be allowed to grow 21,000 square feet of pot.

“It's jobs for my friends, my team, and people I haven't met yet -- careers for lots of people,” Green said.

Alison Holcomb, who helped write the law legalizing pot here, was on hand to see Green get that license, and said she believes the world is watching a historic event.

“We`re showing the rest of the world that you can take this product out of the black market, bring it under control and that there are lots of law-abiding citizens willing to step forward and help you do it,” said Holcomb.

Green may have the first license, but more will be going out this week and beyond. The Liquor Control Board still has to weed through 7,000 applicants who want to be in the new pot business. Retail stores are expected to open sometime in June.

“I think we're going to have to satisfy ourselves with a system that starts out smaller, but opens over time,” said board member Chris Marr.

Last year, two of Green's former employees filed complaints with the state for withheld wages. According to the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, the case was closed two months later when Green settled with those workers for $1,600.