State changing buffer rule on legal pot businesses
OLYMPIA — Moving to end “conflicts with federal law,” the Washington State Liquor Control Board announced Friday it will file an emergency rule to change how the buffer distance of legal marijuana businesses is measured from schools, playgrounds, child care centers, recreation centers, public parks, libraries, public transit centers and arcades.
On Sept. 4, the board proposed the state’s new, legal pot businesses be required to be at least 1,000 feet away from those areas where children and teens gather, but it eased how the measurement would be carried out. It said the 1,000 feet could be measured over established streets, walks or passageways between the two entities.
But after hearing from the feds, the board said Friday it will file an emergency rule change on Oct. 16 — the date for adoption of permanent pot rules — to say, “The distance shall be measured as the shortest straight line distance” between the two points — not by streets or sidewalks.
“The current (proposed) measurement mirrors the existing method of measurement between liquor-licensed businesses and schools,” agency director Rick Garza said. “We’ve since learned that this measurement, as it pertains to marijuana, conflicts with federal law. Although the emergency rule won’t be filed until October 16, it is critical that we announce our intentions now so that potential licensees, local government and law enforcement will have clarity and predictability going forward.”