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Some concerned about ‘pot ghettos’ forming in Seattle

SEATTLE — The feds promised not to fight the legalization of pot in Washington. But that doesn’t mean they are out of the picture.

On Friday, the Washington State Liquor Control Board reversed its decision to loosen restrictions on where pot growers and sellers can set up shop after the feds stepped in.

pot1The state is less than a year away from hundreds of pot stores lighting up.

“I wish it wasn’t coming along personally, as a mom of three kids,” said King County resident Lori Johnston.

The feds may have thrown in the towel on that battle but it doesn’t mean the state has all the control.

“If there are problems, they want to have a way to push back,” said Coalition for Cannabis spokesman John Davis.

The state recently eased the buffer zone rules around schools and parks where kids gather. By measuring the 1,000-foot restriction based on a “common path,” it allowed stores more location options but now the feds are saying not so fast.

“In this case they interpret that to mean as the crow flies and they will enforce the law,” said Washington State Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith

“It’s really completely arbitrary to have property to property line and not common path of travel; children don’t fly,” said Davis.

Davis will be bidding for a state license to open a marijuana store. He’s looking in Seattle’s Sodo district, but so are many others.

“I think it will be horrible,” said Blue Danube Productions owner Niki McKay.

McKay says she’s worried Sodo will become Seattle’s pot district with no schools and parks nearby.

“I think crime, prostitution, things like that will also head over,” said McKay.

She says other businesses may appreciate the extra traffic but not her high-end production company.

“It could turn into the red light district,” said McKay.

Cannabis entrepreneurs say their hands are tied.

“It took a lot of real estate off the market,” said Davis.

In Washington, 334 retail pot shops were approved by the board. Forty will be allowed in King County and 21 in Seattle.

The first batch of retail stores are expected to open next June.

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7 comments

  • HoodyCrow

    OK, so move all the stores that sell alcohol to the same zoned areas. I see no difference between recreational alcohol use and recreational Cannabis use. And seriously would you want Granny to have to go to the seedy section of town to buy authorized medicine? I don't. And no-one is discussing medical usage, dispensaries, permanent authorization cards (not some piece of folded paper) which to me takes precedence.

    Don't these bozos see how hypocritical they are being?

  • Justin

    Omg weed is going to turn everything into a Red light district…. lol give it a break its seattle it was already a pot ghetto without it being legal now all the tight asses and worried like its just drugs galore. some people these days.

  • jeff

    What is disgusting about this issue is the politicians and drug dealers see only one color, Green! For the sheriff of King County to go to Congress and ask for special rules for Washington banks is outrages. People of Washington voted for this monstrosity, the politicians and druggies should own it, all of it! Medical pot is a canard.

  • John

    I don't see these people complaining about the number of bars, taverns, and all the grocery stores selling liquor and liquor stores in every neighborhood of the city. what a crock! This story is a crock to stir up a controversy that isn't really there.