Marijuana regulations set for unincorporated King County

December 18, 2013

By Peter Clark

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 18, 2013

Marijuana operation regulations in King County received approval Dec. 9.

During its regular meeting, the King County Council unanimously adopted legislation modifying county building codes and development regulations for the placement of recreational marijuana businesses licensed by the state Liquor Control Board. The regulations would only apply to unincorporated areas.

Outdoor and greenhouse growing would be available in agricultural and rural areas. Indoor growing would be available in business and industrial zones. As per state guidelines, operations cannot exist within 1,000 feet of childcare centers, schools, parks, libraries, recreation centers or in residential areas.

Specifically for unincorporated King County, this means marijuana growing could occur in areas east and south of Issaquah. The approved legislation allows for outdoor growing along the May Valley Road corridor, around the Mirrormont neighborhood and in Hobart. Indoor growing could exist in the industrialized areas of Preston.

Issaquah Associate Planner Jason Rogers said the county’s approved regulation would not have much affect on the way the city proceeds with establishing its own rules, but leaders are still paying attention.

“It has no direct effect on our regulations,” Rogers said. “It is interesting because it shares some of the concerns that we have.”

He said the lingering questions of how much production to allow in specific areas still needs answers. The Issaquah City Council approved a six-month moratorium on marijuana activities in September in order to wait for the state to set established rules.

An interesting caveat to the council’s decision is the Klahanie area, whose residents will vote on annexation in February. Marijuana operations begun before a potential annexation would likely remain in the face of Issaquah’s moratorium.

“Say someone gets a license in Klahanie and they begin the production process,” Rogers said. “There wouldn’t be much we could do about it. Timing is everything with this.”

As Issaquah begins to clarify regulations, Rogers said the city has very limited potential areas for marijuana operations.

“A lot of people haven’t seen a map of our zoning yet,” he said. “There are almost no areas south of Interstate 90 that exist where a producer or retailer could.”

See the county’s zoning maps here.

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