City Attorney calls for more pot stores in Seattle, looser interpretation of buffer zones

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And 27 more!

There may be hope for a 15th Ave pot store after all. Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes Wednesday called for changes in the implementation of I-502 to ease the path to making legal retail marijuana a success in the state’s densest urban environment.

In a letter to the state’s Liquor Control Board, Holmes called for a more than doubling in the number of retail store licenses currently planned to be allocated in Seattle and a change in how the board interprets the 1,000-foot buffer restrictions preventing marijuana shops from opening near facilities like schools and playgrounds.

Last week, CHS posted a map of the first wave of applicants for licenses to grow, process and/or sell marijuana in the great State of Washington including more than 80 locations with applications in Seattle. Earlier, we reported on the state’s decision to allocate only 21 stores for the city and its strict “as the crow flies” interpretation of the 1,000-foot buffer that would eliminate any possibility of a pot store opening on Capitol Hill, the city’s most densely populated neighborhood.

Holmes also called for the board to ”give licensing preference to existing medical marijuana facilities” that can meet I-502 requirements.

Thursday, by the way, many Capitol Hill bars will celebrate Repeal Day on the 80th anniversary of the end of Prohibition.

Below, we’ve included a full statement from Holmes and mapped all Seattle-area marijuana retailer license applications received by the state thus far with two weeks until the deadline. Seattle currently stands at 44 applications including some providers playing in with multiple hands by submitting applications for multiple locations in the same area. Our map also shows applications in nearby cities like Redmond and Burien. Background and financial checks will weed out some of the applicants and a lottery will then determine which applications are selected. If Holmes gets his way, Seattle applicants may not have to worry about the luck of the draw.


Holmes seeks final I-502 rulemaking changes
Seattle supports the “common path of travel” rule for measuring the 1,000-foot distance between retail marijuana stores and places frequented by persons under 21, City Attorney Pete Holmes said in a Dec. 3 letter to the Rules Coordinator of the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

Currently, the Board – relying on guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice – proposes using the “as the crow flies” measurement.

Holmes said the “common path of travel” rule is preferable because it “most accurately measures how minors might attempt to access I-502 licensed facilities,” a goal of both I-502 and the federal Drug Free Schools Act.

Also, Holmes said, in a dense city like Seattle, “as the crow flies” measurements rule out many locations for licensed dispensers. “We, too, want to keep licensed dispensers away from schools, playgrounds, and other locations identified in I-502, but this must be balanced with the equally important goal of supplanting the current illicit marijuana market with a sufficient number of I-502 stores.”

Holmes requested the Board award at least 50 retail licenses in Seattle; currently the number prescribed for the City by the state is 21.

On another I-502 issue, Holmes asked the Board to “give licensing preference to existing medical marijuana facilities that otherwise comply with – or demonstrate the ability to come into compliance with – I-502 requirements,” including application of the 1,000-foot rule.

12 thoughts on “City Attorney calls for more pot stores in Seattle, looser interpretation of buffer zones

  1. Pingback: City Attorney calls for more pot stores in Seattle, looser interpretation of … – CHS Capitol Hill Seattle | Consult LLC

  2. So glad Holmes is here during the implementation instead of someone like former City Attorney Tom Carr. Can you imagine the draconian take an anti-nightlife zealot like Carr would have promoted?

  3. Pingback: Attorney Search Site » City attorney calls for more Seattle pot stores, relaxing buffer rule – The Seattle Times (blog)

  4. I don’t believe we should celebrate I-502 until the stores are actually open and people are buying their products, going home and using them without being stopped and searched by the police and or getting arrested by them.

    • What?!?

      Private possession of marijuana, in small quantities, has been legal in this state for about a year now. In other words, people have been celebrating for about a year now.

      Why wouldn’t you celebrate, when the city you live in, opens up a “smoke garden” on the year anniversary of i-502? YEs, the city you live in has okayed smoking in public at the celebration. Think about that : )

  5. The pot stores should be located in the greatest areas of demand. That just makes sense. But Holmes goes out of his way to avoid prosecuting actual street criminals while weighing in on political issues like where to locate pot stores. The man is a clown.

  6. So let me get this right? The rules haven’t been finalized but the application process ends in 12 days? Any competent business man would need to know the final rules before risking his freedom, money and life over this new industry. That’s right LIFE. Did you know that if your business does over 20 million a year you qualify for the federal death penalty? Key word here being competent since over 1300 business have applied all ready. To make this I-502 travesty worse the WSLCB is recommending wiping out patients rights to access. If you believe that patients should continue safe access please sign our petition at

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