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Council News Release

7/18/2011  3:30:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Councilmember Nick Licata

Seattle City Council approves first step toward regulating medical marijuana operations

Seattle The Seattle City Council voted today 8-0, approving C.B. 117229 creating a regulatory framework for medical cannabis operations within the City of Seattle.

The ordinance addresses City of Seattle, industry stakeholders', patients' and advocates' concerns that medical use of cannabis should be conducted safely and fairly for the health and welfare of the community. Whether one grows tomatoes or cannabis, growers must comply with basic community standards.

"While the Washington state legislature attempted to clear up language regarding dispensing medical marijuana, the Council and City Attorney Pete Holmes felt more needed to be done at the local level," stated bill sponsor Councilmember Nick Licata. "This Ordinance recognizes the continued federal prohibition against marijuana but explains the rules with which businesses must still comply."

The City of Seattle, like the State, acknowledges that patients depend on medical marijuana for certain medical conditions. Like other jurisdictions, nearly five percent of Seattle residents, or an estimated 25,000 patients, are medical cannabis users. City Attorney Pete Holmes and Councilmembers acknowledge the federal prohibition of marijuana, but must respond to the changes in state law coming into effect on July 22, to minimize impacts to patients, providers and the welfare of the community.

The ordinance also specifies that problems at medical cannabis facilities can be reported to the Customer Service Bureau, the Seattle Police Department, or the Department of Planning and Development, depending upon the nature of the problem.

There remains a shared concern of industry stakeholders and policymakers that these gardens, dispensaries, and processing cites should be good neighbors to the broader community. In the upcoming months, legislation will be considered to require appropriate locations and prohibit citing in some areas, such as residentially zoned neighborhoods.

For more information on the City's medical marijuana ordinance, click here.

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