King County Council takes action on marijuana regulations in unincorporated areas
Information from King County Council
The Metropolitan King County Council has approved legislation refining existing county land use regulations concerning the growth, processing, and retail sale of marijuana.
Included in the adopted ordinance are measures to:
- Remove all parcels under 10 acres and designated as Rural Area (RA) zones from use in the production (growth), processing, and retail sale of marijuana.
- Exempt Vashon from restrictions on the use of RA zoned land for production and processing of marijuana.
- Approve studies on potential retail and processing in specific locations.
- Require the County Executive to identify 10 locations suitable for retail in Neighborhood Business (NB) zoned areas across unincorporated King County.
The ordinance was passed by the council 5-3, receiving support from Councilmembers Reagan Dunn, Kathy Lambert, Pete von Reichbauer, Claudia Balducci, and Dave Upthegrove. Those voting in opposition were Councilmembers Joe McDermott, Rod Dembowski, and Larry Gossett, while Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles was excused.
The county is presently under a four-month moratorium on the acceptance of applications for or the establishment or location of marijuana producers, processors, and retailers in unincorporated areas. The approved ordinance will end the moratorium and goes into effect 10 days after receiving signature from Executive Dow Constantine
Dembowski statement on marijuana legislation
Metropolitan King County Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski released this statement after tonight’s vote by the Council limiting the production, processing and retail of marijuana in the unincorporated areas of King County:
“We adopted zoning for legal marijuana uses two and half years ago. Residents have raised some heartfelt concerns about the location of some of these new businesses. I opposed today's proposal to remove hundreds of thousands of acres of land and to impose new burdens on this budding industry because I believe a lot more work is necessary to fully understand the impacts of the various proposals to change the rules related to marijuana.
“I believe that we need more time and a lot more work to get the zoning rules right in order to ensure that voter-approved I-502 succeeds, that burdens and benefits are equitably shared, in a way that is compatible with surrounding uses, just like any other legal industry.”
McDermott and Gossett: Council’s vote continues inequitable location of marijuana facilities
Metropolitan King County Council Chair Joe McDermott, joined by Councilmember Larry Gossett, released this statement after the passage of legislation limiting the production, processing and retail of marijuana in the unincorporated areas of King County:
“The legislation will further concentrate retail marijuana stores in low income and working class neighborhoods, and, more often than not, minority neighborhoods.
“Reducing the land area where marijuana can be grown and processed coupled with no guaranteed expansion of retail stores will also result in limited access across our county.
“This is particularly concerning for our residents who use medical marijuana to treat numerous ailments like seizures, arthritis and Crohn’s Disease.
“For these reasons, we voted against the legislation.
“Moving forward, the County must look for ways to ensure adequate access to recreational and medical marijuana. We must also address any unintended consequences this legislation may create.
“King County residents voted for a workable, legal marijuana system. We must do the work to make this happen.”