With the Washington State Liquor Control Board ready to begin accepting applications from business owners who want to sell recreational marijuana next week, the Mountlake Terrace City Council will consider two ordinances at its Monday, Nov. 18 meeting that would add additional city rules to state regulations concerning recreational pot sales.
While the state adopted various regulations for marijuana businesses on Oct. 16, the proposed Mountlake Terrace city ordinances “would go a step further than what the state regulations do,” said Shane Hope, the city’s Community and Economic Development Director on Thursday.
The first proposed city ordinance would create zoning regulations to limit the location of marijuana businesses in such a way that no more than one pot store would be allowed in the city, something the state Liquor Control Board recommends. Additionally, the retail business would have to be in a commercial zoning district, not be allowed to operate out of a residential dwelling, be at least 1,000 feet away from schools, public parks and other youth-oriented facilities, and be restricted in its use of signage.
The second ordinance would require that any marijuana business in the city first receive a state license prior to obtaining a city license, and that the city retains the right to revoke the business license if the pot enterprise loses its state license.
At its Nov. 14 work/study session, council members asked questions of city staff concerning city license fees for a retail marijuana operation, what the cost to the city would be in terms of regulation enforcement, how federal law that currently criminalizes marijuana possession and sales affects how the city could regulate pot stores, and if there has been any interest expressed from potential marijuana business owners.
While the City of Mountlake Terrace decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana back in February following state voter-approved of I-502, city officials haven’t considered specific rules concerning the sale of recreational marijuana in Mountlake Terrace until now. The city has been waiting for state regulations to be finalized, and for pronouncements from the U.S. Justice Department that they would not prosecute marijuana possession or sales in the state.
A vote by the Mountlake Terrace City Council on the two proposed city ordinances could come on Monday following a public hearing on the issue, scheduled during the regular council meeting at Interim City Hall, 6100-219th St. S.W. Suite 200. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.