On Tuesday, before over 50 concerned Market, Norkirk and Highlands citizens, the Kirkland City Council signaled willingness to take much if not all of Market Street off the list of potential locations for recreational marijuana businesses in the city. Each council member spoke as to their personal philosophy on the subject representing a broad spectrum from no limits to marijuana businesses should not be permitted near residential dwellings.
Several on the council had concerns about Market Street as a location for recreational marijuana retail/processing/production because of traffic and proximity to school walk routes. Aside from Market Street, applicants are also looking to establish recreational marijuana businesses in Norkirk, Bridle Trails/South Rose Hill and in Totem Lake.
The concerned citizens at the council meeting wore yellow scarves to make themselves noticeable from the dais and it seems to do the trick.
Council instructed staff to focus on options for restricting marijuana businesses in the MSC1 and MSC2 zones on Market Street. There was no interest in applying such restrictions city-wide.
An interim ordinance will be drafted and voted on my the council in the coming weeks.
The council will also send a letter to the WSLCB regarding its concerns.
Council members Nixon, Kloba and Arnold argued most passionately in favor of the fewest restrictions for marijuana. Council member Asher was the most in favor of restricting or limiting recreational marijuana business locations.
This author wrote the following letter to the mayor requesting a temporary moratorium until the autumn to afford Kirkland a chance to watch and learn from other cities. There was no stomach on the council for a moratorium.
Sixty-two percent of the citizens of Kirkland voted in favor of legalizing marijuana. As one council member noted from the dais, they did not anticipate the potential concerns about negative impacts resulting from that vote. One argument made in favor of not restricting locations for marijuana businesses was that if there were no Eastside locations for purchasing weed, buyers would turn to illegal sources rather than trek to Seattle. Already several other Eastside cities are working on restricting marijuana businesses within their limits. Fortunately for them, they will all be able to shop in Kirkland.
It seems that recreational marijuana is one of the few businesses Kirkland actually welcomes. Speaking to shop owners, one gets the impression that many other businesses get keel hauled by regulations and opposition just trying to open their doors.
Viva la economic development!
Learn more about Kirkland's marijuana options here.