Public meetings on pot businesses coming up: Local meeting set for Aug. 8

Information from King County

Four public meetings set on proposed zoning for marijuana-related businesses in King County
Proposed ordinance would allow indoor growing, limit outdoor growing to rural and agricultural areas, and allow processing and retail sales in certain business zones

Following the voter initiative creating a state licensing system for production and sales of recreational marijuana, a King County agency has developed proposed standards for the zoning of marijuana-related businesses that would be regulated by the state and located in unincorporated King County, outside of cities.

“The voters have mandated that marijuana-related businesses are allowed uses, so we have worked to identify appropriate zoning districts for them,” said John Starbard, director of the King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review. “As a next step we now seek public input on this proposed zoning, which will define where these uses will be permitted in the unincorporated areas outside cities."

The agency will hold four public meetings in August on the proposed legislation. All meetings will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, with an open house the first hour with King County staff available to answer questions. The public comment period will begin at 7:00 pm.

Wednesday, August 7
Snoqualmie Valley area
Fall City Library
33415 SE 42nd Pl., Fall City

Thursday, August 8
North Highline area
Technology Access Foundation
605 SW 108th Street, Seattle

Monday, August 12
Southeast King County
Maple Valley Library
21844 SE 248th Street, Maple Valley

Tuesday, August 13
Vashon/Maury Island
Courthouse Square
19021 Vashon Highway SW, Vashon

Among the elements of the proposed ordinance that will be discussed:

Indoor growing and processing of marijuana would be allowed in areas zoned as Community Business, Regional Business, and Industrial.

Outdoor growing would be limited to the Agriculture and Rural Area zones.

Retail sales would be allowed in the Neighborhood Business, Community Business, and Regional Business Zones.

All recreational marijuana businesses operating under the system created by voters through Initiative 502 would require a valid license from the State of Washington. The initiative prohibits the siting of those businesses within 1000 feet of youth-oriented facilities such as parks, libraries, schools, child care centers, and game arcades. Proposed rules under consideration by the state would require fencing and other security measures for all licensed facilities, including outdoor growing.

The proposed King County ordinance would also codify standards existing in state statute for medical marijuana uses, by allowing individual growing and collective gardens authorized for qualifying patients under that state law. The proposed ordinance would prohibit collective gardens within 1000 feet of youth-oriented uses, the same as with recreational marijuana facilities.

Voters enacted I-502 in November to establish a regulatory system for the growing, processing, sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) was charged with responsibility for implementing the regulatory system of recreational marijuana, and is expected to adopt final rules in September for the licensing of recreational marijuana businesses. Once the state rules are adopted, the WSLCB will begin accepting applications for licenses. Licensees will be required to identify the location of the business and the WSLCB will issue licenses for a specific location.

With input from the four public meetings, the County Executive is expected to submit a final proposed ordinance to the Metropolitan King County Council by the end of August.

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