On Tuesday April 22th, the Whatcom County Council adopted a revised Interim Marijuana Ordinance that reduced the restrictions on marijuana businesses. The prohibition on more than eight residences being located within 1000 feet of any marijuana facility was removed as well as the setback requirements for retail operations.
The revised ordinance, however, retains the 300 foot setback from existing residences requirement as well as the requirement that marijuana facilities be located 1000 feet from community centers.
Additionally, anyone seeking a waiver of the 300 foot setback rule and/or any processors located in a rural area will need to obtain an administrative approval permit. Administrative approval is an added layer of discretionary review that requires notice to all property owners within 1000 feet of the proposed facility.
The revised Interim Marijuana Ordinance can be found here.
The revised Interim Ordinance will only be in effect for six months. The Whatcom County Planning Commission will likely start review of this issue again either later this summer or early fall.
It is therefore important for potential recreational marijuana licensees to consider submitting any necessary land use applications under the existing Interim Ordinance and prior to any further changes to the County’s marijuana regulations.
For more information on the regulation of recreational marijuana businesses in Whatcom County and elsewhere in Washington State, please contact Heather Wolf.