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North Bend's new day for marijuana: Businesses can set up shop

Months after Washington’s Liquor Control Board laid down the law for marijuana production, processing and sales, North Bend has done the same, in a unanimous vote June 17.

At its regular Tuesday evening meeting, the North Bend City Council approved recommended changes to the city zoning and land use code, to allow marijuana businesses in the city’s Employment Park 1 and Interchange Commercial zones.

The revised code, NBMC chapter 18.60, specifies that no marijuana-related businesses are allowed in residential areas, and none will be allowed as home-based businesses.

It also designates the growing and processing of marijuana as a permitted use on the EP-1 land between Interstate-90 and West North Bend Way, west of Bendigo Boulevard, and the retail sales of marijuana as a permitted use in part of the IC zone, along both sides of Bendigo Boulevard South at I-90 Exit 31.

The area of allowed use is larger on the north side of Bendigo, and does not extend into the Safeway plaza on the south side of the road. Any such business must also meet all of the requirements set by the Liquor Control Board, including maintaining at least a 1,000-foot distance from designated schools, parks and other recreation areas.

North Bend had moratoriums in place stopping both medical and recreational marijuana businesses from opening until the city was able to finalize its code regarding the drug. The council’s action Tuesday included repeals of both moratoriums.

Before voting on the issue, Councilman Jonathan Rosen said he’d asked how North Bend voters decided the recreational marijuana ballot issue in November 2012, and found that nearly 60 percent of voters were in favor of it. He felt the changes were “consistent with their wishes,” he said.

Of the city’s 3,581 registered voters in 2012, 1,715 voted in favor of I-502, or 58.5 percent. Turnout for the election was almost 82 percent.

North Bend’s Planning Commission met earlier this year on the zoning changes, and held a public hearing in March. In April, the commission forwarded its recommendations to the council, which adopted them with no changes last week. The changes will take effect the week of July 1.

All marijuana businesses in Washington must obtain the correct business license from the state, as well as meeting all local requirements to operate. Currently, the Liquor Control Board reports having received three retail license applications for North Bend, three for processing licenses, and two for producing, or growing licenses. All but two applications are still pending approval. One license was approved for production, and one for processing.

Other Valley cities are being considered by marijuana entrepreneurs, too. For Snoqualmie, Liquor control reports one retail license application, two for processing and two for production. For Fall City, the counts are no retail applications, three processing applications, four production applications, and in Carnation, there have been one retail application, three processing applications, and three for production.

 

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