Updated: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | Posted: 7:08 a.m. Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Proposed zoning changes would keep pot business out of top tourist destinations

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Marijuana for sale
Marijuana for sale

SEATTLE —

A zoning proposal in Seattle would keep the commercial marijuana industry out of popular tourist destinations and most neighborhoods.

Some city leaders want to restrict where people could grow, sell and buy pot.

Pike Place Market, which is one of the top tourist destinations in Seattle, is one place where some Seattle City Council members don't want pot to be sold.

Additionally, they don't want businesses to grow,  process or deliver pot in the area, either.

The Pike Place Market area is one of 14 tourist areas or historical districts where recreational marijuana businesses would not be allowed.

Market visitor Sheila Christopher thinks that makes sense.

"You have tourists and people around us with families," Christopher said. "You shouldn't sell marijuana in this area."

Christopher visited the market with Daniel Beach, who laughed when he heard about the proposed restriction.

"You can smell (marijuana) all around here," he said.

Other areas that could have marijuana zoning restrictions are Pioneer Square, the Seattle waterfront and the International District.

Areas on Capitol Hill, Magnolia, Ballard and Columbia City would also be affected.

The council members also want to limit the size of urban marijuana farms in the industrial Duwamish and Interbay areas of Seattle to 10,000 square feet.

People with plans for commercial marijuana businesses aren't happy about the possible zone changes. They're already bound by a buffer-zone rule.  Under Initiative 502, pot operations and stores won't be able to be within 1,000 feet of schools and parks.

Shawn DeNae, who wants to open a cannabis products business, told city council members at a public hearing that legal marijuana should be accessible.

"People on Queen Anne probably won't drive down to Georgetown for cannabis," DeNae said.  "They'll get it from the black market source where they've been getting it for decades."

The Washington State Liquor Control Board is drafting statewide rules for the implementation of Initiative 502.

Seattle's zoning proposal also addresses medical marijuana businesses, which face smaller setback restrictions. In contrast to recreational pot, collective gardens for medical use would be allowed in much of the city.

Read the full text of I-502 and get more information on legal pot in Washington in our special section.

 

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