|Washington voters approved Initiative 502 (I-502) in November 2012, which, among other provisions, allows persons twenty-one (21) years-old and older to legally possess one-ounce of useable marijuana or marijuana-infused products. I-502 also legalizes the production, processing, and retail sale of marijuana and directs the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) to promulgate rules for the issuance of licenses by the WSLCB to such producers, processors, and retailers. Under I-502, a “producer” is one who produces marijuana at the wholesale level for sale to processors, a “processor” is one who processes, packages, and labels marijuana for sale to marijuana retailers, and a “retailer” is one who sells useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products at a retail outlet.
The WSLCB has promulgated draft rules pertaining to licensing of the producers, processors, and retailers, and held public hearings throughout the state regarding the draft rules. According to the WSLCB timeline, the WSLCB is scheduled to adopt final licensing rules on August 14, 2013 and the rules will become effective on September 14, 2013. Upon the effective date of the licensing rules, the WSLCB will begin accepting applications for producers, processors, and retailers of marijuana and marijuana-infused products and will issue such licenses by December 1, 2013. Prior to issuing a license to a producer, processor, or retailer, the WSLCB must give notice of the application for a license to the City, and the City has the right to file written objections to issuance of the license, but the WSLCB makes the final decision whether to issue a license.
Under I-502 the only limitation on where a producer, processor, or retailer can operate is that such activity cannot be within 1,000 feet of the perimeter of the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center or library, or any game arcade where persons under twenty-one years old may enter. In light of the imminence of WSLCB issuing licenses and the limited state regulations as to where these businesses can be located, it is important for the City to consider regulations addressing the type and location of facilities/premises used for the production, processing, and retail sales of marijuana and marijuana-infused products.
By imposing a moratorium, it preserves the status quo and allows City staff to review the final rules when adopted by the WSLCB and to study and draft potential comprehensive plan amendments, zoning and development regulations, business licensing regulations, and other regulatory controls pertaining to marijuana producers, processors, and retailers who receive a license from the WSLCB. State law authorizing moratoria requires that a public hearing be held regarding the moratorium within sixty (60) days of adoption. The WSLCB likely will have adopted the final rules by the time of the City’s public hearing on the moratorium and, at that time, City staff will present a work plan to Council outlining the recommended actions to be taken towards promulgating City zoning, development, and business licensing regulations.
|The ordinance that accompanies this agenda bill imposes a moratorium that prohibits the producing, processing, and retail sale of marijuana and marijuana-infused products within the City. A public hearing will be held regarding this moratorium within sixty (60) days of adoption. The moratorium will allow City staff to review the rules promulgated by the WSLCB pertaining to the foregoing activities and for staff to recommend, for City Council consideration, potential zoning, development, and business licensing regulations.