Marijuana License Information


Marijuana license applications must receive approval from both the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) under the State rules, and the City of local jurisdiction under local regulations. It is possible for an application to receive approval from the WSLCB and denial from the local jurisdiction. An application must receive approval from both entities in order to allow for a business to operate.

For questions about City licensing of businesses, contact the City Business License Office at 425-587-3140

During its 2015 session, the Washington State Legislature passed Senate Bill 5052, the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, which is intended to reconcile Washington State’s unregulated medical and highly-regulated recreational marijuana systems. In April 2015, Governor Jay Inslee signed the Act into law.

State legislation allows local governments to reduce the 1,000-foot buffer requirements for retail sales from all restricted entities other than elementary and secondary schools and public playgrounds.  

The City has adopted the following buffer regulations (Ord. 4528 Jan 2016):

Section 115.155:  Marijuana Retail Business – Buffer Requirements from Licensed Child Care Centers (not effective within the Houghton Community Municipal Corporation).

Except as otherwise provided in this Section, the distance requirements of RCW 69.50.331(8)(a) (as it now exists or may subsequently be amended) shall apply to state liquor and cannabis board licensing of all marijuana producers, processors, retailers and research premises.  Pursuant to RCW 69.50.331(8)(b), the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board may issue a license for a marijuana retail premises located within 1,000 feet of the perimeter of the grounds of a child care center, but no portion of the property on which a state-licensed marijuana retailer is located may be within 100 feet of the perimeter of the grounds of a child care center.  For the purpose of this Section, “child care center” shall have the definition set forth in WAC 170-295-0010.  This section shall not be effective within the Houghton Community Municipal Corporation

In Kirkland, marijuana retail uses may generally be located in the following zones provided they meet the buffer zones (listed below) set by Initiative-502, approved by Washington voters in 2012:

  • Light Industrial Technology (LIT) zones only where at least 50% of the boundary of the zone is contiguous to commercial zones.
  • Totem Lake zones (TL 7 & TL 9).
  • Zones where retail uses permitted (except exclusions stated below)

State Rules on Marijuana License Applications can be found on the State's Liquor and Cannabis Board webpage.

Notification to the City of Kirkland of State License Applications

When the State approves sites within Kirkland, the State will notify the City’s Licensing Division. The City will then have 20 days to provide any written objections to the application. The notice will be reviewed by the Police Department and the Planning and Building Department. The City will respond with any concerns it has with respect to a particular application.

All state licenses retailers, producers and processors within Kirkland City limits will be required to obtain a City business license (in addition to obtaining a state business license).