September 24, 2013 in City

Zoning OK’d for Spokane pot sales

Council approves facilities in denser business zones
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Don’t expect to buy marijuana in the Garland District. Do expect to buy it on North Division.

The Spokane City Council approved some zoning restrictions Monday evening, striking from the city’s Planning Commission rules that would have allowed recreational and medical marijuana facilities in more pedestrian-friendly shopping centers such as those on Garland and 14th avenues as well as Grand Boulevard.

Instead, the shops, collective gardens and potential clubs face a stricter model, and will only be allowed to operate in denser business zones. The area near Costco on North Division Street is one such district.

The rules align Spokane with state law, but also put it ahead of the game, according to Councilman Jon Snyder, who championed the city’s early approach to dealing with legal marijuana. Voters approved the legal use, production and sale of the drug last November.

State law will allow eight retail marijuana stores to operate within city limits.

Though upward of 70 people were packed into council chambers, just 12 people spoke on the council’s action, and were evenly split on whether they approved of stricter regulations for marijuana.

The council also clarified language allowing for the continued operation of medical collective gardens that already exist, as long as they procure the proper permitting from the city within 30 days of Monday’s vote.

Council President Ben Stuckart, the lone councilman to vote against the rules, said he was doing so because he believed the city should not restrict something to which voters had already given approval.

“When you restrict it, that’s when it fails,” he said.

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