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City leaders propose new cannabis regulations

This week 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 hope is to help protect city businesses and neighborhoods by creating zoning regulations that minimize possible neighborhood impacts while providing fair access for patients.

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 my Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture Committee.  Councilmember Sally Clark and I 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.

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.

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.  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.

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

 

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