Kirkland latest city to impose stricter pot business zoning

by: John Knicely Updated:

KIRKLAND, Wash. - Marijuana still can’t be sold in the state of Washington, but another city has imposed stricter zoning on marijuana businesses.  The city of Kirkland passed an ordinance making much of Market Street off limits. 

The street in Kirkland is lined with businesses and surrounded by residential neighborhoods.  The area meets state marijuana zoning laws, but the City Council decided marijuana businesses can't set up shop between Eighth Avenue and 19th Avenue for six months.  The planning commission will further study the area while the State Liquor Control Board works to give pot retailers the green light. 

“I think it's smart,” said Patti Hansen who has two kids at Kirkland Middle School, a few blocks from Market Street. 

State law already keeps marijuana businesses from opening within 1,000 feet from schools.  Kirkland Middle School is well beyond 1,000 feet from the Market Street corridor, but this city ordinance would keep marijuana businesses even farther from the school. 

Hansen notes many kids walk across Market Street to get to school. 

“Then it would make perfect sense that school routes would be added to that,” said Hansen. 

Zarza Style Boutique is on Market Street right off Eighth Avenue.  Owner Donnette Russell admits the unknown of marijuana businesses is a big factor. 

“Fear is playing a part of it too,” said Russell.  “I think if it was a liquor store opening down the street we wouldn't be as worried.  I don't know why, but this is all new so we'll have to wait and see what happens.” 

The Washington attorney general has said cities like Kirkland do have a right to impose stricter zoning for marijuana businesses.