No takers for legal retail pot shop on Bainbridge; city also asks state to reject sole application for marijuana producer/processor business on island

The prospects for a legal pot shop on Bainbridge Island — as well as a state-authorized marijuana growing or packaging business — appear to be a bit hazy.

Washington state officials have given Bainbridge Island the OK to allow one retail shop for selling marijuana on the island, but according to city staff, no one has applied for a license to sell legal pot on Bainbridge.

In a memo to the planning commission, the planning department also noted this week that only one application is pending before the state Liquor Control Board for a producer/processor license on Bainbridge Island.

City officials have asked the Liquor Control Board to reject that application because the business applicant is proposing to be located in a residential area.

Washington voters gave the green light to legalizing marijuana for recreational use when they approved Initiative 502 at the ballot box in November 2012, and also approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes four years earlier.

The city of Bainbridge Island ramped up its review of potential regulations on legal marijuana last year, and the city council OK'd interim zoning regulations for marijuana-related businesses and collective gardens for medical marijuana in November.

The interim rules put in place a six-month moratorium on the growing of marijuana so more review could be conducted on appropriate locations. The council also adopted six-month interim regulations that limited marijuana-related processing and retailing for recreational use to "Business/Industrial" zoning, and included rules for indoor-only collective gardens for medical marijuana in the B/I zone.

Next week, the Bainbridge Island Planning Commission will hold its first workshop on the permanent marijuana regulations that will replace the interim rules.

In a memo sent this week to the planning commission, Planning Director Kathy Cook said the city has to decide how it wants to regulate the three different types of marijuana businesses: production

(currently regulated under the six-month moratorium), processing (which includes packaging and marijuana edibles) and retailing.

Locations for the three types of businesses on Bainbridge are limited, however.

State regulations ban recreational marijuana-related businesses from being placed within 1,000 feet of the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center or library.

Under the city's interim rules, marijuana processing and retailing businesses are limited to a small area that's zoned "Business/Industrial" near the west side of the Day Road-Highway 305 intersection.

Consideration of potential locations that would be allowed under permanent regulations is ongoing, and the planning department has suggested that the city could use existing zoning regulations for figuring out where marijuana businesses could be located.

General retail businesses are allowed in "Mixed-Use Town Center" and "Neighborhood Service Center" zoning districts. But because of the 1,000-foot rule adopted by the state, city planners note that "almost none" of the property zoned for "Mixed-Use Town Center" could be used for a retail marijuana business, while "all of Rolling Bay, Lynwood Center, and the northern portion of Island Center are outside of that buffer" in "Neighborhood Service Center" zones.

The planning commission is expected to continue its review over its three other meetings in January and February before proposed regulations are presented to the city council for approval.

The commission will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9 in council chambers at city hall.



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