Seattle pot zones could create marijuana district

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Now that marijuana is legal, Seattle is considering zoning pot businesses out of much of the city.

The new zoning plan would keep growers and retailers away from popular tourist spots, and essentially create a large marijuana district in the SODO neighborhood.

It’s what Dante Jones, who owns a Ballard medical marijuana business and plans on expanding into a retail pot store, calls, “a green light district if you will.”

The new restrictions would keep commercial marijuana business out of most areas downtown, including popular tourist spots like pike place and pioneer square.

Seattle City Councilor Sally Clark said the zoning changes aren’t about keeping the pot biz out of the public’s eyes, but regulating a new industry.

“It’s not often you actually have a brand new business appear in the city,” said Clark. “We began to look at this because  with every other type of business we have some zoning rules.”

Once the state sets the rules for pot retailers and distributors, they’ll already be restricted in much of Seattle because, according to I-502, which legalized pot, those businesses can’t be within a thousand feet of anywhere that kids gather, like schools, daycares, and playgrounds.

That will leave just a few areas in the city to grow or buy legal pot.

Danta Jones said he’s lucky. His Ballard store also falls within a zone allowing pot retail sales.

Jones is glad the city is taking this step. By creating zoning, he said Seattle is finally respecting the pot industry as a legitimate business.

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    Hopefully most people will just continue buying pot from the underground market. Why give the state government a big cut of the money for doing essentially nothing?

    • Cameron

      well, they sure seem to be over complicating it. of course the entire thing will fail unless the significantly undercut the black market sale of pot. but its our government, and i really don't see them understanding it that way.

  • Silverado

    The only thing I'm sure of in all of this debate about cannabis, medical and recreational and the taxes that are…..expected to be collected, is that they won't get it right. It will be a failure from the get-go and all by design. It has to be a Libertarian – free market approach which would price it under the black market as has been mentioned. The other missing element of success in all of this would have been to come out of the gate having a positive message/slogan and repeating the mantra IF Washington state collects any tax money from the legalization of cannabis it will go exclusively to fully funding education. That would have garnered even more support from the voters of this state and more importantly it would almost magically change the behavior of the Feds over night should they be unable to restrain themselves and continuing their heavy handed ways of enforcing their failed drug laws by calling them out in the local press along the lines of "there they go again stealing educational tax monies from the children of Washington state just because they don't like cannabis and real freedom & liberty". I guarantee federal bullying with selective enforcement and this continued bad behavior from Washington DC will stop immediately the first time it would be used.
    As for placing these cana-businesses in a district created by new zoning restrictions i would agree with that when all cigar bars and wine tasting facilities are made to follow the same codes. Otherwise I like and prefer the Libertarian-free market approach and letting that make the decision. Not some anti-cannabis city council with an obvious ax to grind.