City to vote on interim marijuana regulations

Government: In addition to state rules, businesses would have to be 2,500 feet away from each other

of the GatewayFebruary 19, 2014 

The rollout of legalized marijuana, as per Initiative 502, continues around the state.

In the meantime, the City of Gig Harbor is looking to add an additional regulation for marijuana stores set to sprout soon.

According to I-502, retail stores may not be set up within 1,000 feet of what essentially amounts to places minors visit — schools, recreation centers, parks, transit centers or arcades. Gig Harbor is looking to add a layer to those rules.

In the interim, marijuana retail stores would have to be 2,500 feet from other retail marijuana stores. The regulation would prevent a group of stores in one area of the city.

“It separates the uses, so there’s not a dense proliferation in one neighborhood,” senior city planner Lindsey Sehmel said.

In conversations with the state Liquor Control Board, Gig Harbor staff members found there is no limit to the number of locations allowed in the city. The staff also learned that the Liquor Control Board might issue five or six licenses for Gig Harbor and could, legally, issue up to 17 licenses, according to council documents.

“The city was under the interpretation that retail licenses would be allocated by the state per population base, and we heard from the state that is not the case,” Sehmel said.

The state has a list of potential retail store locations. The retail lottery, held by the Liquor Control Board, is expected to happen late this month.

Currently, there are 28 applications for a marijuana business in Gig Harbor, many at the same address. In total, Sehmel said there are 23 applicants.

Three suites at 5775 Soundview Drive have applications from five different applicants. Natural High; MMH, LLC; NW Artifacts; SVG and The Gallery have all applied for suites 104, 106 and 108. Legal Marijuana Superstore has applied for the location but did not list a specific suite.

The city’s municipal code only allows marijuana retailers to be in areas zoned commercial district, general businesses district or employment district. Retail outlets cannot be located in residential areas.

The City of Everett adopted interim regulations that required a minimum of a 2,500-foot separation between retail locations in October.

Gig Harbor’s interim regulation likely will be voted on during Monday’s city council meeting, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Gig Harbor Civic Center, 3510 Grandview St.

Reporter Karen Miller can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at karen.miller@ gateline.com. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_karen.

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