MLT City Council approves ordinances governing marijuana retail businesses

City of MLT logoBy a 5-1 vote, the Mountlake Terrace City Council approved two ordinances on Monday that apply to any potential recreational marijuana retail businesses that may want to set up shop in the city. One ordinance requires a marijuana business to obtain a city business license, while the other sets zoning regulations that would limit the city to just one retail marijuana business and to where such an establishment could be located.

The only objecting vote cast to the two ordinances was by council member Bryan Wahl; Mayor Pro Tem Laura Sonmore was not present at the Nov. 18 council meeting.

The two city ordinances closely mirror state rules for retail marijuana businesses established by the Washington State Liquor Control Board in October.

The city business license ordinance states that a marijuana business will be issued a City of Mountlake Terrace business license only if the applicant has already received a state license, and that the city license can be revoked if the business loses its state license.

The city’s new zoning regulation sets a maximum of one retail marijuana business within the city limits. It requires that it must be in a commercial zone and not in a residence, echoes the state requirements about 1,000-foot distances from public facilities and youth-oriented businesses and activities, and sets standards concerning signage requirements and prohibitions.

The new zoning ordinance also states that any marijuana producing or processing businesses in the city would have to be located in areas zoned light industrial/office park.

While the city ordinances closely resemble state law addressing marijuana businesses, they go a little further in specifying the number of retail pot shops the city will allow (one), and that signs advertising the retail store will be prohibited off its property.

The State Liquor Control Board will begin accepting applications for marijuana business licenses on Wednesday, Nov. 20; the window for applying will be for only 30 days. If someone in Mountlake Terrace applies for a license, the liquor control board must notify Mountlake Terrace city authorities.

Monday’s action was the third by the Mountlake Terrace City Council concerning marijuana ordinances this year. In February the body passed new city law decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, then in May they approved city rules allowing medical marijuana collective gardens in the light industrial / office park zoned areas of northwest Mountlake Terrace.

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