Liquor board releases pot retail store list
SNOHOMISH COUNTY - Snohomish County will be allowed up to 35 recreational marijuana retail stores, including five in Everett and one each in Monroe and Mukilteo.
The state Liquor Control Board released the retail allocation list last week as the agency in charge of implementing Initiative 502 added new rules governing the production, processing and retail sale of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older.
The liquor board is restricting the number of retail stores for each county based on a marijuana demand study. The state analysis predicts 25 percent of marijuana users will go to retail stores instead of buying from peers, dealers, or, for many, medical marijuana dispensaries.
Since Everett is Snohomish County’s most populous city, it is allocated up to five retail stores while smaller cities like Monroe, Lake Stevens and Mukilteo can have one store. Even smaller cities such as Snohomish didn’t make the list, but a retailer could still try to locate there.
Each county is allowed a certain amount of “at large” stores that can open up anywhere not on the allocation list, such as the city of Snohomish and in unincorporated Snohomish County. Snohomish County is being allocated 16 “at large” stores.
Snohomish County’s retail allocation of 35 is slightly more than the number of state-run liquor stores that existed before the industry was privatized last year.
The liquor board, which is finalizing statewide rules, says retail store operators have to follow each city’s local zoning laws. Some cities, such as Lynnwood, are considering banning the stores completely.
Everett, for example, is considering a 2,500-foot buffer between retail stores to keep shops from clustering together. The state is requiring a 1,000-foot buffer between stores and public places such as schools, parks, libraries and day care centers. Everett will adopt its rules after the state adopts its rules but before the licensing application window opens.
In total, the liquor board is allowing up to 334 stores statewide. King County will be allowed up to 61 stores. Seattle was allocated 21 stores.
The liquor board will vote on statewide rules Oct. 16. The rules will become effective Nov. 16 and two days after that a 30-day business licensing application window will open.
Retail licenses will be granted Jan. 1, liquor board I-502 implementation project manager Randy Simmons said previously.
The marijuana retailers will be specialized, private stores and highly regulated.
Retailers will be able to operate from 8 a.m. to midnight. Marijuana package advertising cannot be attractive to children and advertising will be heavily restricted. If a retailer racks up three incidents where people under 21 are found in the store, the store’s license will be revoked, Simmons said previously. The rules also prevent “pot monopolies” by limiting licensees to a maximum of three stores statewide.
Late last month, the U.S. Justice Department gave Washington and Colorado the approval to move forward on implementing state laws legalizing marijuana for adults as approved by voters in each state through the initiative process.
Some of the other modified rules are:
• Limiting a producer’s total marijuana production to 40 metric tons.
• Limiting marijuana production space to 2 million square feet. There will be no giant marijuana warehouses.
• Limiting the maximum amount of marijuana allowed on a producer licensee’s premise at any time based on the type of grow operation (indoor, outdoor, greenhouse).
• Prohibiting false advertising for marijuana products.
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