There are a variety of enforcement agencies with a number of enforcement tools to address unlawful marijuana actives, including:
Marijuana in Seattle
Washington State approved the production and sale of marijuana for medical and recreational use in November 2012. On October 7, 2013, Council adopted where larger-scale marijuana-related activities should be limited in Seattle.
Councilmembers have proactively visited nearly every neighborhood district council and met with numerous stakeholders since the legislation has been introduced.
What does the legislation do?
- Limits are placed on where larger-scale marijuana activities can occur in Seattle. Specifically, the activities are the “processing, selling, or delivery of marijuana, marijuana-infused products, or useable marijuana.”
- The limits are consistent with the level of activity allowed for what the state defines as a single “collective garden.”
- The limits do not require a land use permit specifically to conduct marijuana-related activities. Although a property owner might need to obtain a permit to establish, for example, an agricultural or retail use, the City will not require the applicant to identify that the use is marijuana-related.
- Generally, limits will not apply in Neighborhood Commercial 2 & 3, Commercial 1 & 2, Industrial Zones, and certain Downtown zones (detailed location breakdown, with exceptions [including special review districts] here)
- The ordinance defines certain terminology related to marijuana in the land use code.
- The ordinance clarifies the intent of, and impose a size limit on, indoor agricultural operations in industrial areas. This change applies to any agricultural use in industrial areas, including marijuana production.
Where do federal, state, and city limits apply?
Most marijuana-related activity remains subject to federal criminal laws throughout the nation.
State law currently regulates medical and recreational marijuana differently.
Under Initiative 502, recreational marijuana producers, processors, and retailers in Washington will have to obtain a license from the State Liquor Control Board. The Board may not issue such a license for any business within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or game arcade that allows minors to enter. As a practical matter, this will limit where recreational marijuana-related activity will occur in Seattle.
The ordinance requires existing lots, businesses, and dwelling units where marijuana-related activities are being conducted must comply with the legislation by 2015.
In addition, the proposed Seattle ordinance limits the level of marijuana-related activity that may occur in residential neighborhoods (e.g., single family zones) and other areas, such as historic districts.
In 1998, Washington voters passed I-692, approving medical use of marijuana by patients with qualifying conditions. In 2011 the state legislature passed a bill permitting collective gardens by medical marijuana patients, and stating that cities may use their zoning authority to regulate.
The City Council passed Ordinance 123661 in 2011, clarifying that the manufacture, production, processing, possession, transportation, delivery, dispensing, application, or administration of marijuana must comply with all applicable City laws, and that compliance with City laws does not constitute an exemption from compliance with applicable state and federal regulations.
In 2012, Washington state voters approved I-502 legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, and directing the Liquor Control Board to develop a process for regulating marijuana production, processing, selling, and delivery. The state is in the process of developing regulations. The Board maintains a website with information on its implementation of I-502.
Council Central Staff Memo, May 20, 2013
Council Central Staff Memo, May 6, 2013
Council Central Staff Memo, April 22, 2013
Staff Report, Dept of Planning & Development, March 19, 2013
This website is intended for communication only and should not be used for determining potential compliance with regulations. Please review the legislation, state law and federal law for complete information.