Regulators want change on measuring pot-business buffer

The state’s Liquor Control Board announced earlier this week that it will file an emergency rule on Oct. 16 that will revise a rule on recreational marijuana sales regarding the method of measurement of the 1,000 foot buffer measurement between a licensed marijuana business and an elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or arcade where admission is not restricted to those age 21 and older.

The board’s current proposed rules, which were filed Sept. 4, say “the distance shall be measured along the most direct route over or across established public walks, streets, or other public passageway between the proposed building/business location to the perimeter of the grounds.”

Regulators plan to change that language to state: “The distance shall be measured as the shortest straight line distance from the property line of the licensed premises to the property line of the entities listed below…”

“The current measurement mirrors the existing method of measurement between liquor-licensed businesses and schools,” agency director Rick Garza said, in a statement. “We’ve since learned that this measurement, as it pertains to marijuana, conflicts with federal law. Although the emergency rule won’t be filed until Oct.16, it is critical that we announce our intentions now so that potential licensees, local government and law enforcement will have clarity and predictability going forward.”

The emergency rule will not affect the Initiative 502 implementation timeline, liquor officials said.

Two public meetings on the proposed permanent rules have been scheduled: one in Seattle on Oct. 8; the other in Spokane on Oct. 9.

The board will vote on adoption of the rules on Oct. 16. If adopted, the rules would become effective on Nov. 16.

A 30-day window for marijuana license applications would open on Nov. 18

More information regarding the marijuana market implementation can be found at  www.liq.wa.gov.

Lynden puts six-month moratorium on recreational pot sales

The Lynden City Council voted to place a six-month moratorium on recreational pot sales within city limits during a meeting on Sept. 16. City leaders say they want better clarification on state rules before moving forward.

A public hearing before the council regarding the moratorium is scheduled for Oct. 21. 

Bellingham City Council members approved a similar moratorium for Bellingham earlier this summer, but ended up lifting it on Aug. 12.

On Sept. 4, state regulators said Whatcom County would be allowed 15 licenses for marijuana retailers, once permanent rules are in place. Of those 15, Bellingham will get six, Lynden and Ferndale each will get one, and the seven remaining licenses will be classified as “at large.”

All totaled across the state, the board plans to allow up to 334 licensed cannabis retailers.

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