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Seattle maps out a plan for marijuana growers and sellers

One week after the state issued rules for the emerging legal pot industry, the City of Seattle is mapping out its plan for where growers and sellers can do business.

The law makes residential areas, single family and multi-family zones, off limits. Same for neighborhood commercial zones as well as certain downtown zones and historic districts.

“It’s our intent that we not have a concentration, not only in particular neighborhoods for that matter, we don’t want a concentration in the City of Seattle,” explained Seattle councilmember Nick Licata.

Licata says permissible locations include other commercial and industrial zones spread throughout the city so as not to create a “pot zone.”

“We are not going through with a rubber stamp saying on a map these are marijuana districts,” said Licata. “Eventually there probably will be a map produced that will show where marijuana enterprises can exist.”

The original bill limited manufacturers to a space of 10,000 square feet. That’s too small, according to one observer.

“We do want to encourage some economic activity on cannabis production in this city,” said a man who testified before city council. “I’d assume we’d like to see some jobs and some taxes out of that.”

The bill that passed out of committee boosted the allowable size to 50,000 square feet, except in maritime industrial zones. Councilman Bruce Harrell says he has no interest in any land use decision that might harm maritime.

“The challenge is though, this is going to be an emerging industry,” said Harrell. “It could be job growth and revenue growth and I guess from a policy standpoint, do we just tolerate and plan to do the minimum or do we realize this is going to be a marketable product and embrace it.”

The bill acknowledges that the marijuana industry is in its infancy and these rules are not set in stone.

The full city council votes on the pot zoning law Tuesday.

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