Seattle Reduces Mandatory Distance Between Dispensaries

Seattle City Council votes to reduce the buffer zone between dispensaries.

Pot shops in Seattle can now exist in closer proximity to one another.

In a unanimous decision, the Seattle City Council voted Monday to reduce the minimum distance between legal weed businesses as part of a new zoning measure. Since the passing of Initiative 502 in 2012, the minimum distance between dispensaries in the state of Washington was set at 1,000 feet. The new rules in Seattle, which were proposed by mayor Ed Murray, establish buffer zones of 250 feet for weed retailers in downtown Seattle and at 500 feet in other parts of the city, though not more than two dispensaries can operate within a 1,000 foot (roughly five-block) radius. Buffer zones for producers and processors is set at 250 feet. 

The distance between cannabis retailers and city-defined “sensitive zones,” such as schools and playgrounds remains at 1000 feet, according to state law.

According to The Seattle Times:

 “Murray’s aim was to accommodate new shops the state will license as it tries to fold medical-marijuana dispensaries into its system for recreational stores. [Murray's plan] would add about 1,600 acres of available land citywide for pot merchants.”

The city hopes the new measure will discourage cannabis businesses from clustering together. The reduced buffers will offer greater access to retail cannabis, will make it easier for tourists to procure high-end nugs