Council gets first look at interim pot rules
EVERETT - In response to the state’s delay, the city also is pushing back its timeline for adopting local zoning rules for recreational marijuana.
Everett’s interim zoning rules will come back before the City Council in mid-October, city attorney Colin Olivers said.
The council discussed the interim regulations, which established where recreational marijuana retailers, processors and producers can locate within city limits, for the first time last week.
Councilman Ron Gipson was concerned about the city’s proposed 2,500-foot buffer zone between retail shops, which goes beyond state regulations.
Liquor and tobacco shops don’t have buffers, Gipson said, so “if the state recognizes this as a legal business, why would we have buffers?”
The buffer zone tries to prevent a cluster of marijuana shops, Olivers said.
With the buffers, there would be about 10 locations in city limits where retailers could locate, Olivers said.
According to a city map, some places marijuana retailers could locate are along parts of Evergreen Way, Everett Mall Way, a stretch of north Broadway from 13th Street to 18th Street and the western tip of Pacific Avenue.
The state Liquor Control Board is charged with regulating recreational marijuana and is writing rules based on voter-approved Initiative 502, which legalized the sale of marijuana to adults. The liquor board will be regulating how many retailers are allowed in each city and is taking another look at how it will decide those limits. Snohomish County could be allotted about 35 stores under earlier estimates.
Under proposed city regulations, producers and processors would be restricted to a limited number of industrial and agricultural areas.
Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher wanted assurances that growing pot would be kept indoors, which Olivers said most producers on this side of the state would do anyway. The liquor board rules allow indoor and outdoor growing operations.
After gathering input at public hearings across the state earlier this month, the liquor board decided to push back its timeline for adopting statewide rules. The board wants to rewrite some of the proposed rules to address limiting the amount of total marijuana production and identifying the total amount of product a licensee may have on hand in addition to other issues.
The liquor board will now be adopting its rules on Oct. 16 after holding another public hearing. A 30-day business licensing application window would then open on Nov. 18. Under the initiative, the liquor board has until Dec. 1 to adopt rules.
The city wants its regulations in place before that application window opens up.
Other cities are taking various approaches to recreational marijuana.
Lynnwood is planning a recreational marijuana moratorium while Seattle will offer broader allowances than Everett’s proposed rules, Olivers said.
Everett’s regulations are “a happy medium,” he said, but the city still faces the risk that retailers who get a state license may fight back if Everett’s buffer zones shut them out from locating in city limits.
The liquor board has repeatedly said licensees have to work under each city’s zoning laws.
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