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Spokane man may open first pot store in Washington

Spokane man may open first pot store in Washington

A recent e-mail lit up Scott O'Neil's eyes more than any of his future product could.

"I was just extremely happy, it's one of those things that I've been dreading or worrying about for the last couple months," O'Neil said.

O'Neil is the owner of the medical marijuana dispensary, Kouchlock Productions. That e-mail was from the Washington Liquor Control Board, confirming he was the 8th person in line to receive a retail marijuana license in Spokane. The city will only allow eight recreational pot shops.

"It was nice to get that weight off your shoulders," he said.

Now, O'Neil and others who received similar e-mails have some legal hoops to jump through. He will have to pass a background check, financial investigation, and show the board all of his business plans. O'Neil will also transition his medical dispensary into a recreational store at the same location.

"You can't have any products on site for when they do their walk-throughs," O'Neil said.

O'Neil is also a longtime friend of the state's first licensed pot grower Sean Green.

Do you need a Lyft?

Do you need a Lyft?

A new kind of taxi, the ride-sharing company "Lyft", is making it's way across the country and has made a stop in Spokane.

Lyft has brought controversy from other taxi companies and cities as well. It's banned, for example, in Los Angeles.

If you need a lift from the Y to downtown Spokane, one of the drivers nearby will pick you up and take you there for a suggested donation, but local taxi companies are calling it illegal.

It goes against everything you've been taught, getting into cars with strangers, but hop into Shannon Meyers' car and you'll quickly become her friend.

"We need to have a first bump to get things going," she laughed.

Meyers is one of the first drivers for Lyft in Spokane. Their app to connects drivers with people who need a ride. All Lyft drivers, have a pink mustache on their grill.

"After they see you, they wave at you, they're pointing and giving you the thumbs up, it's been really fun wearing the mustache," Meyers said.

Each ride has a suggested donation, instead of a fare meter, and taxi drivers with meters are skeptical of the company.

Lime prices causing consumers to pucker up

Lime prices causing consumers to pucker up

Lime, the little fruit that causes some to pucker, is causing that same reaction when consumers look at the price lately.

"The price of limes has been crazy," Casa De Oro owner Enrique Torres said.

Torres owns Casa De Oro in North Spokane. He said he's squeezing out hundreds of dollars each week on limes to keep the restaurant running.

"You can't go to a Mexican restaurant and order a margarita or beer without the lime," he said.

Torres just put in a $150 order Tuesday for a case of 140 limes.

"Like four months ago they were $20 a case," Torres said.

It's going to be an expensive week for the restaurant, with their annual Cinco de Mayo celebration coming up on Saturday. Torres said they'll need up to six cases of limes for Cinco de Mayo alone.

"It's going to be $700 for the limes," he said.

At grocery stores, customers are seeing the same thing. Limes that usually only cost a couple dimes are now pushing a dollar. Some stores haven't even had them because of the shortage.

'Sharknado' producers bring zombie apocalypse to Spokane

'Sharknado' producers bring zombie apocalypse to Spokane

They're coming to get you, Spokane. Local production company North by Northwest is helping to bring the zombie apocalypse to the Inland Northwest later this year.

This fall, the SyFy Channel will premiere "Z Nation," a new, 13-episode series that will be filmed on-location in Spokane.

The Asylum, which produced "Sharknado", and Go 2 Digital Media are producing the series, which is being helmed by Karl Shaerfer, who was the co-executive producer for the SyFy TV series "Eureka."

Filming in Spokane will mean local talent will be needed to help flesh out the apocalypse, so 1,200 extras and 200 actors will be hired in the coming month. Rich Cowan, with North by Northwest, said this production could make a large financial impact in Spokane.

"Doing a series you have many, many months of work for the crew and then you have a second year and then a third year and then on. So it's a game-changer for production here. Sustainable jobs here in Spokane," he said.

Greater Spokane Incorporated hires new leader

Greater Spokane Incorporated hires new leader

News release from Greater Spokane Incorporated:


The Board of Trustees of Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) has appointed Steve Stevens as the organization's new President and CEO. Stevens will officially begin July 1.

New center helping women get ahead in business

New center helping women get ahead in business

SNAP's women's business center, now open in the East Central Community Center, is open and ready to give women a helping hand to get their small businesses off the ground.

The women's business center is the only one of its kind in the region. It's been open for less than a month, and is already helping women launch businesses throughout the area.

Inside, manager Laurie Roth offers advice to clients like Heather Riviere, who wants to open a crepe food truck, a sweet idea that actually came during a sour time.

"I was laid off in November and thought this is the perfect opportunity for me to do something in synch with who I am," Riviere said.

For the last month, Riviere has been using the center, getting one-on-one help from Roth and taking courses on how to run a business.

"There is no way I could have taken the idea and gotten to this point on my own, the team has just been amazing," Riviere said.

Right now there are about 20 women who are using the resources of the center.

Washington's pot license lottery gets underway

Washington state is holding a lottery this week to select more than 300 licensees across the state to run recreational marijuana shops.

In places like Spokane eight recreational pot stores are allowed but 108 people applied to run those stores, so the state is holding a city-by-city lottery to see who gets the licenses.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board started the lottery Monday and it runs through the end of the week.

It's double-blind, which means absolute anonymity for the applicants so no one gets special treatment.

The people applying still have to pass a background check, financial investigation and other requirements before any licenses are issued.

Although we won't know who gets a license for a few weeks it's an exciting time for the applicants, like Dan Magadanz, who manages "The Peaceful Choice," a local medical marijuana dispensary.

"The second recreational market in the United States is opening and nobody has anything right now. We're standing in a position where we're really excited to be one of the people that help this industry move into legitimate business," Magadanz said.