The following is an update from City spokesperson Ross Freeman:
"After further review of the 1,000ft
straight line measurement protocol, and the
uses in I-502, we have concluded that there is actually NO
area on Mercer Island that could house a marijuana retail business under the proposed emergency rule.
A previous GIS analysis by the City failed to draw
a 1,000’ line from the Montessori
School located east of the Fire Station.
Once that is added to the map, there is nowhere a marijuana retailer can locate
(in essence, this closes out the tiny sliver of public Right-of-Way that we had identified before)."
Original Story: The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) announced on Friday that it will file an emergency rule on October 16, 2013, to make a single technical revision to the recreational marijuana rules.
The emergency rule will revise the method of measurement of the 1,000 foot buffer measurement between a licensed marijuana business and an elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or arcade where admission is not restricted to those age 21 and older. The emergency rule will not affect the Initiative 502 implementation timeline.
The interpretation of the rule could directly affect the establishment of a marijuana retail purveyor on Mercer Island. City Development Services Director Scott Greenberg said earlier this year that measuring the 1,000 foot restriction in a straight line "as the crow flies" would only permit a tiny area in the middle of a Town Center street to comply with the law, effectively ruling out any marijuana businesses from establishing on the Island.
But a Sept. 4 WSLCB ruling changed that, allowing “the distance shall be measured along the most direct route over or across established public walks, streets, or other public passageway between the proposed building/business location to the perimeter of the grounds.”
The WSLCB also allowed permitted one retail marijuana store to operate on Mercer Island, provided the store complied with other sections of the initiative — including the 1,000-foot buffer.
Greenberg said he was still "unsure" if the current rules would actually allow a physical retail location.
"(If the emergency rule is approved,) we're back to the original map which would essentially, the rule would not allow any marijuana retail outlets on Mercer Island."
The emergency rule will state: “The distance shall be measured as the shortest straight line distance from the property line of the licensed premises to the property line of the entities listed below…”
“The current measurement mirrors the existing method of measurement between liquor-licensed businesses and schools,” said agency director Rick Garza. “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.”
Oct. 08 Public Hearing on permanent rules in Seattle
Oct. 09 Public Hearing on permanent rules in Spokane
Oct. 16 Board adoption of permanent rules
Board adoption of emergency rule on 1,000 foot measurement
Nov. 16 Permanent rules become effective
Nov. 17 Emergency rule on 1,000 foot measurement becomes effective
Nov. 18 WSLCB begins taking license applications (30-day window)
Dec. 01 Deadline for adopting I-502 rules
For more information regarding the implementation of I-502 including summaries of the law and rules, answers to frequently asked questions and other documents, please visit the WSLCB website at www.liq.wa.gov