City revisits marijuana ordinances following state law change

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logo_mountlaketerrace-1The Mountlake Terrace City Council revisited local marijuana law during its work session Thursday night after the state law changed in 2015 to allow one additional shop within Mountlake Terrace’s city limits, among other changes.

There is one recreational marijuana shop operating in the City of Mountlake Terrace – it is Fweedom Cannabis, located at 21911 64th Ave. W., Ste. D, which is in the same parking lot as Interim City Hall. The shop opened on Feb. 29.

The Planning Commission recommended to council that the city decline allowing an additional shop in the city limits for at least another year. That would allow the commission to look at larger amount of data to see how much tax revenue the current shop is generating for the city and if crime rates have changed based on the presence of the shop.

“We certainly don’t move to two until we know what the impacts are,” Councilmember Bryan Wahl said. “I want to know what the tax picture looks like and how it would change, and the other thing I want to look at is what kind of crime are we seeing, what crime are we seeing from nearby areas.”

However, there is already a second marijuana business ready to open in the city limits. Two owners spoke to the council during Thursday’s meeting.

“We started the process two years ago to fight for our right to open the store,” Tad Seaton said. “We are currently paying a lease right now, down the street, that we can’t use. One more store doesn’t cost the city any additional money. One more store creates additional revenue for the city.”

Seaton, of Mukilteo, and his partner Michale Braki, of Shoreline, have the necessary marijuana license from the state and have a lease on a building located on 64th Avenue West near 220th Street Southwest. The only thing preventing the store from opening is the current city code, which has a limit on one marijuana business within the city limits.

“With only one store, you’re not going to get the historical data you are looking for, because one store could do much better than another, it could be run completely differently than another,” Braki said.

Another business owner in the same area where the proposed second marijuana shop would be located said the city should keep the limit at one store.

“The one thing I was looking for when I rented this office space is no retail,” Mary Wright, a chiropractor who practices at Abundant Life Health Center, said. “Our parking is extremely limited. I am a medicare provider about 30 percent of my practice is elderly.”

The state law change also affects how medical marijuana is regulated, though those changes will not affect Mountlake Terrace because there are no medical dispensaries in the city.

However, the Planning Commission did recommend reevaluating regulations for medical cooperatives, which allow a group of up to four members to grow up to 15 plants each inside of a residence if they follow certain guidelines, such as keeping them out of view from the street and keeping it from smelling inside another residence. Cooperatives are allowed by state law and are not yet banned by local laws.

The Planning Commission recommends the city ban cooperatives through zoning laws.

A public hearing on both ordinances, which would ban cooperatives and keep the retail store limit at one, will be held on Monday, June 6 during its regular council meeting at 7 p.m.

–By Natalie Covate

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