This map shows where dispensaries would and wouldn’t be allowed under Mayor Ed Murray’s legislative proposal, announced Monday. This scenario shows allowances based on the 500-foot zoning rule. Dispensaries with storefronts would also have to be 1,000 feet from each other.
- Sarah Aitchison
- Staff Writer- Puget Sound Business Journal
The Mayor of Seattle proposed new zoning, packaging and testing legislation for medical marijuana dispensaries, Monday.
The legislation comes after a symposium last week where the mayor’s office heard from panels of experts.
“We want to strike the balance of protecting patients, ensuring access to medical marijuana and responding to concerns about the location of density of dispensaries,” Murray said in a press release. “We know the state legislature will be considering bills this session, but in the absence of state framework, Seattle must act.”
Murray said it is unlikely medical marijuana reform will come from Olympia before 2016.
Until now, the medical marijuana industry in Seattle has been difficult to regulate, because nobody is really sure what is covered under Washington’s recreational marijuana laws and what is not.
Marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
While the feds have made it pretty clear they won’t get involved, they are more likely to react to businesses located within 1,000 feet of schools or other places children congregate, said Brian Stevens, spokesman for the Seattle Department of Planning and Development.
The mayor’s proposal would not allow dispensaries to be within 500 feet of child care centers, schools, parks and similar facilities.
Dispensaries with storefronts would also not be allowed within 1,000 feet from each other to avoid clustering.
The ordinance would also require criminal background checks for operators and testing marijuana for THC levels, molds, pesticides and other impurities.
Collective gardens would also have to validate authorizations for medical marijuana with the issuing health care provider.
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