Pot shops coming to a neighborhood near you?
The Edmonds City Council reviewed possible locations and licensing provisions on Tuesday for recreational marijuana producers, processors and retail stores in preparation for the moratorium’s expiration on May 14.
Edmonds will have two licensed retail locations as determined by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, with a total of 35 licensed stores in Snohomish County.
Marijuana businesses will not be permitted a license if they are within 1,000 feet of the perimeter of elementary and secondary schools, public parks, public transit centers, recreation centers, child care centers and arcades not restricted to people 21-years or older.
City Planning Manager Rob Chave said areas of the Perrinville, Five Corners and Westgate neighborhoods are excluded from the buffers and may be retail sites.
Growers and processors will be limited to commercially-zoned areas in Edmonds, and the Liquor Control Board will issue licenses to all qualified applicants who met the application deadline.
Highway 99 contains a large portion of commercially-zoned property in Edmonds and is a cause for concern for some.
Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas said she was concerned about the potential of both retail locations being located on Hwy. 99.
“There may be some who think it’s a great idea to put two stores up there, but that’s not what I’ve heard,” Fraley-Monillas said.
Fraley-Monillas said she has received numerous emails from concerned citizens who do not want all of the marijuana businesses located in their residential neighborhoods along Hwy. 99.
Police Chief Al Compaan addressed councilmembers’ concerns regarding public safety, resource costs and testing for detecting drivers who are driving under the influence.
“The public safety concerns, as far as the sites go, are burglary, breaking and entering and robbery,” he said.
Compaan said other safety concerns are driving while intoxicated and the implications of that behavior.
I-502 does not allow a licensee to hold all three licenses for producing, processing and retail. However, a business could simultaneously hold licenses for producing and processing; while retail licensees cannot hold producer or processor licenses.
The city will be notified by the state when a licensee is approved and will be given the site address and the business owner’s name.
The city will not have the ability to approve or deny a licensee; however, it can submit objections to the Liquor Control Board and, if necessary, request a hearing.
“The state is holding all the cards with respect to licensing,” City Attorney Jeff Taraday said.
The council will continue discussions on Tuesday, April 15.