Sammamish get 1 pot store under state regulations
September 5, 2013
By Ari Cetron
New: Sept. 5, 12:18 p.m.
The state’s Liquor Control Board has allocated one license to the city of Sammamish for a retail marijuana outlet.
Washington voters legalized recreational marijuana in November 2012 with the passage of Initiative 502. In Sammamish, 55 percent of voters approved the measure.
Since the vote, the Liquor Control Board has been developing rules for the cultivation, distribution and sale of recreational marijuana. On Sept. 4, the state released its guidelines for how and where those operations can take place.
There will be an overall cap of 40 metric tons of marijuana that can be grown in the state. The number helped dictate the number of retail outlets, which were allocated based on population. Statewide, the board said it will allow 334 retail outlets.
King County was allocated 61 of these licenses, which were then further divvied up between the cities. Sammamish and Issaquah will each be permitted one retail outlet. Redmond gets two. Seattle, the largest city in the state, will get 21.
Most of King County’s licenses were allocated to cities; however, there are an additional 11 at-large licenses up for grabs. Those could be used in unincorporated areas of the county, or possibly in cities that want to exceed their original allotment.
In Sammamish, the licensing becomes problematic. In July, the City Council continued its temporary ban on collective gardens (in place for about two years), and initiated one on marijuana retail facilities. At the time, the council seemed generally opposed to allowing legal marijuana within the city.
Even if the City Council were to permit marijuana in concept, there may be another hurdle, though a rule change may have removed it.
The initiative that permitted the use of recreational marijuana also prohibits it being grown, processed or sold within 1,000 feet of parks, schools and similar facilities. All of Sammamish’s land zoned for retail use falls within those 1,000-foot buffers.
That 1,000 feet, however was an as the crow flies measurement. The Liquor Control Board modified that regulation. Now the marijuana operations may not be with 1,000 feet along a commonly traveled route. Whether or not this will open up areas in the city that had been off-limits has not yet been determined.