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Proposed zoning for recreational marijuana facilities on Vashon

Islanders study the proposed zoning map presented during a zoning meeting for proposed zoning for recreational marijuana facilities on Vashon Island.
Islanders study the proposed zoning map presented during a zoning meeting for proposed zoning for recreational marijuana facilities on Vashon Island.

King County presented their proposal for zoning standards on marijuana-related businesses at the Courthouse Square on Tuesday, August 13 from 6:00-9:00p.m. County officials held an open house for the first hour and proceeded with short presentations by Darren Carnell (King County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney—Civil Division) and Jarrod Lewis (King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review) of the proposed ordinance before opening up for questions and comments from the public. Councilmember Joe McDermott also attended the meeting. This was one of four meetings held to discuss the proposed legislation for the zoning of both recreational and medical marijuana that would be regulated by the state and located in unincorporated King County with the implementation of Initiative 502.
 
The King County agency developed this proposal as a result of the voter initiative creating a state licensing system for the growing, processing and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. The proposed ordinance would limit outdoor growing in rural and agricultural areas, allow for indoor growing and processing in areas zoned as Community Business, Regional Business and Industrial, as well as allow for retail sales in Neighborhood Business, Community Businesses, and Regional Business Zones.
 
Under Initiative 502, all recreational marijuana businesses require a valid license from the State of Washington. I-502 prohibits businesses from operating within 1000 feet of youth-orientated facilitates. This includes schools, libraries, child care centers, and parks. The proposed rules would also require licensed indoor and outdoor facilities to have fencing and other security measures put in place.
 
In addition, the proposed ordinance would codify standards existing in state law for medical marijuana uses by allowing individual growing and collective gardens authorized for eligible patients. The proposed ordinance would prohibit collective gardens within 1000 feet of youth-oriented uses (the same as with recreational facilities). Medical marijuana for personal use would include limits on the size of the area (currently 50 square feet), lighting (maximum of 1,200 watts), and prohibit the use of gas products for cultivation. However, medical marijuana facilities already in use will be grandfathered in. These facilities will be allowed to continue operating under current legislation, which includes facilities that open from now until the legislation is implemented.
 
When the floor opened up to comments and questions after officials presented the proposal, Islanders expressed a wide-range of thoughts and opinions. Several individuals felt that the rules should be altered to allow the growing and production of marijuana to be under one license. Others questioned whether it had the potential to impact property values or quality of life.
 
One Islander asked whether a current dispensary on Vashon Island was licensed properly, as King County does not currently manage the licensing of dispensaries. County officials suggested she pursue the issue at the state level.
 
In addition, a few individuals wanted to ensure that there was proper set back put in place for public places, such as parks, schools, daycares and playfields, as well as what access minors would have to jobs in the production or sale of recreational marijuana.
 
The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) is responsible for developing the regulatory system of recreational marijuana. WSLCB is expected to reach a decision for the licensing of recreational marijuana businesses in September. Thus, WSLCB will start accepting applications for licenses once the state rules are adopted. Licensees will be required to state the location of the businesses, which WSLCB will then issue licenses for that specific location.
 
For more information or details on the proposed ordinance (including zoning maps), please refer to the King County website. A final proposed ordinance is expected to be submitted by King County Executive Dow Constantine by the end of August. For more information about the county’s proposed rules and to see its maps related to marijuana-related businesses, see  www.kingcounty.gov/property/permits.aspx.
 
I-502 Implementation Timeline
The below timeline reflects the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s official timeline for implementation of Initiative 502. The Board and staff are working from this timeline going forward..
 
By law, the WSLCB must have the rules written by December 1, 2013. The agency is on track to meet this deadline. If and/or when timeframes change we will communicate those changes via the WSLCB Listserv and our agency Twitter.
Date (2013), Milestone
September 4, File Supplemental CR 102 with revised proposed rules.
 
October 9, Public hearing on proposed rules.
 
October 16, Board adopts proposed rules (CR 103).
 
November 16, Rules become effective.
 
November 18, WSLCB begins accepting applications for all license types.
 
December 1, Rules are complete (as mandated by law). Begin issuing Producer, Processor and Retail licenses to qualified applicants.
 
For more information on the implementation of I-502 and to join a listserv to receive email updates, please visit WSLCB website at www.liq.wa.gov.