Uncertainty over law halts budding pot entrepreneurs


TACOMA, Wash. - Legal marijuana is creating a new wave of pot entrepreneurs, but the uncertainty about the new law leaves a lot of questions unanswered.


KIRO 7 Eyewitness News morning anchor John Knicely spoke with a landlord who said he is getting a lot of calls from people hoping to sell pot out of his Tacoma building.


Kelly Creso said since Tacoma Custom Jewelry is moving to his property next door, he has 605 square feet open to lease.


Ever since the initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana passed, pot entrepreneurs have been salivating over his space.


“At first it was a few people and then it avalanched.   Everybody and their mother, well, everybody and their brother would probably be a better description, was calling asking about space to lease. I've never seen anything like it,” said Creso.


Despite the interest, Creso hasn’t filled the vacancy.


Creso said he’s too nervous to have marijuana sold out of his building, not only because of there are children present at the dance studio nearby, but because he’s waiting to see how the federal government will react to Washington’s law because marijuana is still against federal law.


“As I understand the federal laws, if I was to lease to someone to sell marijuana the feds could potentially come in and seize my building,” said Creso.


Knicely wanted to find out how many people were applying for marijuana-related business licenses in Seattle, but because there’s no category for such a business on the license application, city officials have no way to know.


Those categories are based on federal guidelines and because marijuana is still against federal law, there won’t be such a category in the future.


As for the budding pot entrepreneurs, Creso said they’ve been surprisingly understanding of his hesitancy to lease.


“They say they understand. They say it may take some time for the laws to be clarified,” said Creso.


Pot entrepreneurs may also have a difficult time getting a small business loan.


Columbia Bank told KIRO 7 they won’t lend for marijuana sales because it’s against federal law.