City leaders propose new cannabis regulations

Home » City leaders propose new cannabis regulations

Mayor Mike McGinn
City Attorney Pete Holmes
Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Nick Licata

City leaders propose new cannabis regulations

Seattle – Today an intergovernmental team consisting of City staff and representatives from the Mayor’s office, City Councilmembers and the City Attorney set in motion the process to begin deliberations on proposed legislation to establish zoning regulations for growing, processing, and dispensing of cannabis in Seattle. The intent is to help protect city businesses and neighborhoods. 

“Medical marijuana providers operate in a grey area between city, state and federal law,” said Mayor McGinn. “This proposal is an attempt to better define appropriate operations for dispensaries. We look forward to hearing from the public on this approach.”

“I support safe and responsibly run access points for medical cannabis in Seattle; it’s important that these access points be subject to zoning laws and other city regulations just like any other business or land use,” said City Attorney Pete Holmes.

The purpose of this proposed ordinance is to limit the off-site impact of larger-scale cannabis-related activity in zones where they may have increased impacts on neighborhood character or security, specifically those zones with a predominately residential or historic character: 

  • Single family and multifamily residential zones
  • Neighborhood Commercial 1 zones
  • Pioneer Square Mixed, International District Mixed and Residential, Pike Place Mixed, Harborfront neighborhoods

In these zones, the growing, processing, or dispensing of cannabis would be limited to:

  • 45 cannabis plants;
  • 72 ounces of useable cannabis; and
  • An amount of cannabis product that could reasonably be produced with 72 ounces of useable cannabis.

“My goal is for zoning regulations that minimize possible neighborhood impacts while providing reasonable access for patients,” added Council President Sally J. Clark.

This proposed ordinance would create additional limitations on growing, processing, and dispensing of cannabis to existing State or federal laws and is an exercise of the City’s authority to protect public health, safety, and welfare.

More information can be found in the Department of Planning and Development’s Land Use Information Bulletin.

The SEPA appeal period ends Monday, October 1. Members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on these proposed regulations when the Council discusses this ordinance this December, in Councilmember Licata’s Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture Committee. 

“We want to create standards now so that we don’t repeat what is happening in Los Angeles, where law enforcement raids shut down operations of good and bad businesses alike and eventually City Council banned dispensaries altogether because there were few standards in LA to hold operators accountable,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “For this reason, I hope access point operators and neighborhood residents will agree that they each can benefit from the consistency and accountability that these regulations will provide.”

City Councilmembers Nick Licata and Sally Clark will be visiting Neighborhood Council meetings through December to gather feedback on the proposal.  Additional information on these meetings will be available as they are scheduled.

Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

[Go to Council Newsroom]