The Seattle City Council unanimously passed an historic recreational marijuana zoning law Monday. The Council voted 8-0 to designate specific neighborhoods and streets for legal pot retail and cultivation locations.
The ordinance, which had been considered for months, restricts cannabis commerce locales in Seattle primarily to industrial areas and their bordering neighborhoods, such as the Georgetown district.
According to the ordinance, cultivation operations can be between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet despite Washington State law allowing grow ops of up to 30,000 square feet. The original Seattle proposal would have allowed 50,000 square foot spaces (roughly the size of a football field).
However, when it came to other aspects of crafting the ordinance, the Council mostly adhered to the already established provisions of I-502, the ballot measure that legalized recreational weed statewide in November 2012.
The Council approved I-502’s requirement that pot businesses cannot operate within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and day care centers. The new city ordinance also bans bud farmers from growing in the industrial area near the Port of Seattle – a compromise brought about due to fears that profitable pot businesses would force less profitable port industries to close. Only existing pot cultivation operations taking up less than 5,000 square feet may remain open in the now-prohibited areas.
The new law also affects Seattle medical marijuana dispensaries and caregivers. Each has until January 2015 to obtain a license to legally do business in the city.
Private residents of Seattle who obtain licenses and are zone-approved will be permitted to grow up to 45 plants at home – despite I-502 prohibiting personal cultivation. City officials indicated enforcing the home-grow ban is the responsibility of the state.