Yellow areas on the right show where pot shops may be allowed under new rules.
The number of allowable locations for pot shops on Capitol Hill could expand under a new set of rules released Thursday. Mayor Ed Murray unveiled changes to the Seattle land use code that would, among other things, amend the 1,000-foot buffer rule to allow pot shops to open closer to parks and libraries. Meanwhile, state regulators are in Seattle Monday night for a public hearing on Washington’s medical marijuana rules.
Under the proposed changes in Seattle, the 1,000-foot buffer would be reduced to 500 feet, opening up the possibility for I-502 retail locations on or near Broadway, E Olive Way, E Madison, and 15th Ave, according to an unofficial map (PDF) provided by the Mayor’s Office.
The proposed rule changes come in response to a state marijuana reform bill enacted in July that allowed for more local authority over pot zoning. The changes also anticipate an expected increased of new stores as medical marijuana shops come into the fold of the I-502 system. In October state regulators opened a new window for I-502 license applications, and unlike the first application round and lottery, there was no set cap on the number of licenses they can issue.
Murray’s rule would also prevent the clustering of pot shops on a single block.
“We must ensure there is an even distribution of stores so they are not unfairly concentrated in economically-distressed neighborhoods and so that cannabis is accessible to medical patients throughout the city,” Murray said in a statement.
The City Council is expected to hold a hearing on the plan in December.
First priority applicants include law abiding medical owners or employees who were issued a license prior to January 2013 and applied for a retail license prior to July 2014. Seattle currently has 24 active retail licenses (the cannabis board added three more licenses to the city’s original allotment). The board will be approving new license applications on a rolling basis.
The state Liquor and Cannabis Board will be at City Hall Monday night to hold a public hearing about changes to the state’s medical marijuana system.
Seattle Public Hearing on Medical Marijuana Rules Nov. 16
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) on Nov. 16, 2015, is holding the fifth of six statewide public hearings regarding its proposed medical marijuana rules. The draft rules follow legislation enacted earlier this year that aligns the medical marijuana system with the existing recreational system.
Date: Nov. 16, 2015
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Seattle City Hall
Bertha Knight Landis Room
600 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
Uncle Ike’s and Ponder remain the only two pot shops in the Central District and the closest shops to Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, the pot drama continues at 15th and E Republican, where Sam Burke was recently granted a permit to open Tok after nearly a year of waiting to open Capitol Hill’s first pot shop. It’s unclear how Murray’s proposed rule changes would affect Ian Eisenberg’s plans to open a second Uncle Ike’s location across the street. Uncle Ike’s and Ponder are CHS advertisers.