City Council encourages Liquor Board to disperse pot shops

The latest development in the ongoing discussions regarding the implementation of I-502  involves the geographic dispersion of pot shops in Seattle.

We previously reported that the Washington State Liquor Control Board has made no decisions about whether they’ll allow clustering shop locations or make efforts to deliberately disperse them. That decision will affect the 23rd and Union corner’s potential to one day house multiple marijuana retail locations.

Yesterday, the Seattle City Council wrote to the Board encouraging it to incorporate geographic dispersion of marijuana retail licenses into their rules.

The letter states, in part:

The Liquor Control Board may not issue licenses for the sale of marijuana to businesses located less than 1,000 feet from an elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or game arcade Where admission is not restricted to persons age 21 or older. These restrictions result in limited areas of Seattle being available for retail sales.

We are concerned with how these restrictions could interact with the proposed rules for marijuana retail licenses. New section WAC 314-55-081 (l) of the proposed rules for marijuana retail licenses states that should the number of eligible applications exceed the allotted amount of retail locations in a city (21 in Seattle), licenses Will be granted by lottery.

Should there be more than 21 eligible retail applications in Seattle, and the licenses are granted by lottery, this could potentially result in clustering of retail sales in a few areas, and other eligible areas having no retail locations.

Should a lottery result in a lack of geographic dispersion of retail locations within Seattle, this could make fulfilling the goals of I-502 more difficult.

We encourage you to incorporate consideration of geographic dispersion of retail licenses into
your rules.

You can download the full letter here.

9 thoughts on “City Council encourages Liquor Board to disperse pot shops

  1. a lota ins, a lotta outs with this one. I assume the City Council is responding to neighborhood concerns that some locations have too many shops (such as 23rd and Union), rather than concerns that some locations not have any shops. My sense is that this is overkill.

    According to Dominic Holden’s analysis in The Stranger, there are only 7 or so locations to worry about.

    So as a retailer, would you rather be the 3rd store at 23rd and Union or the only store on Aurora Ave North. Can’t the market sort this out?

    • I see your point, but look what happens with nightclub and entertainment options when the market sorts it out. With the exception of some in Ballard, the overwhelming bulk of nightlife in Seattle is clustered mostly on Capitol Hill. Does the stretch between Pike and Pine between Broadway and 12th not resemble so much “10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag”? And how many “happening” joints are now on Aurora Ave North? I fear the same will happen with pot shops, to the detriment of the neighborhoods around.

      • I hope the i502 stores end up dispersed, but more importantly, I hope the stores work. I like your “bag” imagery, but I really don’t fear the future of 23rd and Union as a night club wasteland. I think it’s more likely the corner gets developed into soul-less residential/retail oblivion with apartments on top of yogurt shops. Pot shops sound intriguing and pretty low key to me. Take a trip to a medical dispensary if you’re worried about how these stores will change the complexion of the neighborhood. They’re mellow man.

      • @ zipcode boy… “10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag”? Really? Kinda a provincial narrow reactionary observation.

      • I wasn’t suggesting Union & 23rd would turn into a nightlife center. In fact, quite the opposite. I’d be be more worried it turns into a semi-seedy (no pun) intersection everybody comes to just it get their pot, then back to the hill.

        And I don’t think you can point to pot dispensaries as they are now and conclude anything about how retail pot stores will look. They are purposely low-key now so as to not draw attention to themselves. Plus the one I checked out has about all the charm of a check-cashing agency, so I certainly hope retail pot shops are nothing like they are now. Now we’ve got one liquor store at Union and 23rd, and that’s fine. Another and it would look trashy. (Just my opinion). I think 1 pot shop there would be fine too. But we don’t need 2 or even 3 or 4.

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  3. There will be hundreds of pot shops all over the place. In 8 years the location restrictions will have been removed and you will buy pot at Rite Aid, Walgreens, Safeway, and Albertson’s. Buy a 10 pound bag at Cosco every month and bong out on the sofa.

    This will all be about money. There is no way back. Let’s fast track this to full on consumerism ASAP and try to capture tax revenue for local use.

    Gangs will have to focus on the hard stuff and trafficing young women. To make up for the loss of pot revenue, they may have to try marketing young boys as well. But, best I can tell – nobody cares about human trafficking.