Wa State Pot LeafOn Monday, the City Council approved an emergency interim ordinance to regulate where recreational marijuana retailers, producers and processors may operate in Bellevue.

The interim zoning ordinance, which will be effective for up to six months, limits marijuana production and processing to areas zoned for light industrial uses, and restricts the locations of retail outlets. It also requires beefed up security measures, prohibits outdoor growing and mandates that recreational marijuana operations be at least 1,000 feet away from medical cannabis collective gardens.

The vote was 5-1, with Councilmember Don Davidson voting “no” and Councilmember Kevin Wallace absent. The action responds to the passage last year of state Initiative 502, legalizing marijuana use by people over the age of 21. The state Liquor Control Board is charged with implementing I-502, and has allocated four recreational marijuana retail licenses for Bellevue.

A public hearing on the interim ordinance will be held within 60 days and the city’s Planning Commission will work on permanent land use regulations for recreational marijuana uses. According to the Liquor Control Board, retail sales of marijuana are expected to begin in spring 2014.

Permanent regs approved for medical cannabis gardens
In a separate action, but one also related to the regulation of marijuana, the council approved a permanent ordinance to regulate medical cannabis collective gardens on a 5-1 vote. Councilmember Davidson voted “no” and Councilmember Wallace was absent.

Passage of the permanent ordinance came after the council passed a series of six-month, interim zoning ordinances dating back to May 2012. The new ordinance prohibits collective gardens in residential areas, allows them in some non-residential areas, requires additional security measures and establishes other rules to limit impacts of the gardens.

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