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Public meetings set on proposed zoning for marijuana related businesses in King County

King County is holding several public meetings to discuss the proposed standards on zoning for marijuana-related businesses.

“The voters have mandated that marijuana-related businesses are allowed uses, so we have worked to identify appropriate zoning districts for them,” said John Starbard, director of the King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review. “As a next step we now seek public input on this proposed zoning, which will define where these uses will be permitted in the unincorporated areas outside cities."

Four public meetings will be held throughout the area in August on the proposal. All meetings will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. with an open house during the first hour of the meeting, where King County staff will be available to answer questions. The public comment period will begin at 7 p.m.

The meetings will be held:

• Wednesday, August 7 
Snoqualmie Valley area 
Fall City Library 
33415 SE 42nd Pl., Fall City

• Thursday, August 8 
North Highline area 
Technology Access Foundation 
605 SW 108th Street, Seattle

• Monday, August 12 
Southeast King County 
Maple Valley Library 
21844 SE 248th Street, Maple Valley

• Tuesday, August 13 
Vashon/Maury Island 
Courthouse Square 19021 Vashon Highway SW, Vashon

Elements of the proposed ordinance which will be discussed include:

• Indoor growing and processing of marijuana would be allowed in areas zoned as Community Business, Regional Business, and Industrial.

• Outdoor growing would be limited to the Agriculture and Rural Area zones.

• Retail sales would be allowed in the Neighborhood Business, Community Business, and Regional Business Zones.

All recreational marijuana businesses operating in the system will require a valid license from the state. The initiative prohibits the siting of those businesses within 1,000 feet of a youth-oriented facility, such as a park, library, school, child care center and game arcades. Proposed rules under consideration by the state would require fencing and other security measures for all licenses facilities.
The proposed King County ordinance would also create standards existing in the state statute for medical marijuana uses, by allowing individual growing and collective gardens authorized for qualifying patients under the state law. The proposed ordinance would prohibit collective gardens within 1,000 feet of youth orients uses.

Under the voter enacted I-502, the state will create a regulatory system for growing, processing and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. The Washington State Liquor Control Board is charged with implementing the regulatory system, and will likely adopt final rules in September for licensing. Once state rules are adopted, the WSLCB will start accepting applications for licenses.

With the input from the public meetings, the King County Executive is expected to submit a final proposed ordinance to the King County Council by the end of August.

Voters enacted I-502 in November to establish a regulatory system for the growing, processing, sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) was charged with responsibility for implementing the regulatory system of recreational marijuana, and is expected to adopt final rules in September for the licensing of recreational marijuana businesses. Once the state rules are adopted, the WSLCB will begin accepting applications for licenses. Licensees will be required to identify the location of the business and the WSLCB will issue licenses for a specific location.

Copies of the proposed ordinance are available online at www.kingcounty.gov/permitting.

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