- About Us
State board set to adopt marijuana regulations
As the adoption of final regulations regarding the sale of marijuana approaches, cities throughout the state including Covington, Maple Valley and Black Diamond, are considering how to regulate retail sales.
The state’s Liquor Control Board, which was tasked with developing rules to govern the marijuana industry, was expected to adopt regulations Wednesday, after the Reporter’s press deadline.
These new rules come thanks to Initiative 502, a voter-approved initiative passed in November 2012 which legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
A set of rules adopted in early September would allow for 61 stores to be licensed to sell recreational marijuana in King County, with Maple Valley slated to get one license while Covington and Black Diamond did not get any.
It is possible, however, that retailers may be able to obtain a license to operate in one of those cities by applying to the state Liquor Control Board and going through a lottery process.
“Locations not assigned to a specific city are at large,” stated a document on the state Liquor Control Board’s frequently asked questions section of its website. “The specific locations will be selected by lottery in the event the number of applications exceeds the allotted amount for the cities and county.”
It is not clear on the Liquor Control website just how many at large licenses will be available.
While Covington and Black Diamond plan to develop regulations in the near future, Maple Valley officials are ready for whomever may apply to run a retail marijuana business there.
“Maple Valley considers retail marijuana shops the same as any retail establishment,” wrote Maple Valley City Manager David Johnston in an email interview. “Thus, if the business venture meets the criteria under our zoning code it would be able to open in the eligible area. The business still must be licensed through the state of Washington Liquor Control Board.
The state said it would allow only one retail operation within Maple Valley. If an investor is interested, our Community Development staff has taken the location parameters set forth in state law and have determined the possible locations where a marijuana retail establishment could be located.”
Meanwhile, Covington officials have fielded a number of questions in recent weeks. The city’s attorney put together a response to inquiries regarding Covington’s policies on recreational marijuana.
It currently has a moratorium in place on medical marijuana facilities that will expire in February 2014. Work has begun on interim zoning for medical marijuana-related businesses.
Covington is working on developing interim zoning regulations for recreational marijuana businesses that may set up shop within city limits, according to information provided by Richard Hart, the city’s community development director. The City Council will likely vote on regulations before the state Liquor Control Board begins to accept recreational marijuana license applications Nov. 18.
Black Diamond, however, has not regulated medical marijuana specifically unlike its neighbors to the north and west.
Instead the city used its business license process to regulate marijuana collective gardens instead of developing zoning regulations.
The Black Diamond City Council did take up the issue at its Oct. 3 meeting. Members voted on a pair of proposed ordinances which would put six month moratoriums on recreational and medical marijuana businesses in the city.
“The City Council placed moratoria on all marijuana-related activities for six months in order to establish appropriate policies and zoning to comply with state statue,” wrote Black Diamond Mayor Rebecca Olness in an email interview Tuesday. “No permits or business licenses will be issued in this regard until the City Council finishes its deliberations.”