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Marijuana License Information

Current Information

Recent 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.  At its meeting on August 16, 2016, the City Council will consider a recommendation from the Planning Commission to consider proposed Zoning Code amendments that would reduce the buffer distance from a marijuana retailer to a child care center.  The recommendation follows a joint public hearing of the Planning Commission and the Houghton Community Council which was held on July 23, 2016.  The proposed amendments would reduce the buffer distance from 1,000 feet to 600 feet.  As proposed, the reduced buffer would not be effective within Houghton.

The amendments to be considered by the City Council are shown below:

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 600 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. 

Previous meetings on this topic included:

  • Joint study session (PC and HCC):May 12, 2016
  • Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods: June 8, 2016
  • Joint public hearing (PC and HCC):June 23, 2016
  • Council Meeting (Continued): August 16, 2016

Questions? Contact Dorian Collins, project planner at or (425) 587-3249.

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.

The new law, among several changes, regulates medical marijuana through the same structure as established by Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana.  The new law no longer limits the number of licensed retail marijuana stores within a jurisdiction. Starting on October 12, 2015, the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) will begin accepting new applications for retail stores.

Read more about the City Council's consideration of zoning regulations for retail marijuana sites.

Marijuana Zoning Map
  Eligible & Ineligible marijuana Retail Areas Per I-502 and City Regulations Map
(Click on map to enlarge)

Land Use Zones in Kirkland that Allow Marijuana Uses

Kirkland’s zoning regulations for marijuana retail sites were enacted in March 2015, Read background information on the City's consideration of regulations.

In Kirkland, marijuana retail uses may 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)

In Kirkland, marijuana retail sites may not be located in:

  • Market Street Corridor Zones (MSC 1 & MSC 2)
  • Any property abutting a street designated as a School Walk Route

The map shows places in Kirkland where marijuana retailing (PDF 573k) production, and/or processing could be located, if licensed by the WSLCB. The map shows zones where retailing or production and processing are allowed under the Kirkland Zoning Ordinance, together with the locations of known schools, parks, day care facilities, transit centers, and the 1,000 foot buffer from uses where state law prohibits sales, production and processing.

State Rules on Marijuana License Applications
I-502 general rules that apply:

  • Licenses will not be issued to home businesses in residential areas
  • Licenses will not be issued to properties within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library or game arcade
  • Limitation on advertising signs
  • Licenses will not normally be issued to those with a criminal background
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 processers within Kirkland City limits will be required to obtain a City business license (in addition to obtaining a state business license).

Page updated: September 2, 2016