The next phase of legal recreational marijuana in Washington is setting up a system of state-regulated retail shops to sell cannabis. But under the rules set up with the passage of I-502, there will be very few legal spots in Seattle for marijuana shops to go.
According to an analysis by Ben Livingston from the Center for Legal Cannabis, there are only a couple areas where retail marijuana shops will be allowed, since they cannot be placed within 1,000 feet of places like schools, day cares and parks. This only leaves open spots around the Sodo district of Seattle and the southern areas near the airport.
This will force cannabis shops to the suburbs, which Livingston says is unfair for consumers. “The intent of the voters was to legalize it and let them buy it in a store,” he said. And since Seattle is far and away Washington’s largest city, this means many consumers will be making a long drive or public transportation trip to buy legal cannabis.
The state legislature cannot make changes to the new law for two years, but the rules for marijuana shops in Washington won’t even be finished until the end of 2013. So maybe consumers in Seattle won’t have to wait too long before they can take advantage of what voters intended.