News Blog for Seattle's University District Neighborhood

 

City Council votes to license medical marijuana ops

July 21st, 2011 by master

The Seattle City Council has taken steps toward legalizing medical marijuana in the city this week, voting Monday to establish a municipal licensing, regulation and taxation system for medical marijuana. The licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries and co-ops would fall under a new state law going into effect on Friday, July 22, which would make medical marijuana dispensaries illegal. From Reuters:

The 8-0 vote in favor of the measure comes nearly three months after Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law a new measure allowing cities to regulate and license production, processing and distribution of medical marijuana on a limited basis.

That statute, which takes effect on Friday, requires storefront dispensaries and other medical pot suppliers to reorganize themselves as small, cooperative ventures serving up to 10 patients. These “collective gardens” are confined to growing 45 plants total but no more than 15 per person.

This vote is a ground-breaking move for Washington, and is the farthest any city in the state has gone toward legitimizing medical marijuana usage. Dispensaries and co-ops citywide would benefit from the licensing decision. From MyNorthwest.com:

“They’re not kicking the can down the road and having somebody else deal with it,” [Dockside Co-Op owner Oscar] Velasco-Schmitz says. “They realize that there is a need for medical cannibis within the community, and they’re taking steps to be able to provide that for the community in a safe manner.”

While Seattle has taken measures to license medical marijuana dispensaries, such businesses are still in violation of federal law. If signed by Mayor Mike McGinn, the proposed ordinance would require medical marijuana businesses to comply with city codes, governing everything from plumbing to public nuisance complaints. From Reuters:

Seattle officials backing the proposed city ordinance say more than 25,000 of the city’s 600,000 residents use cannabis for medical reasons. They argue that regulation will bring more order to the burgeoning supply chain.

“We’re saying, ‘You’re already here, now we need to regulate you,'” Seattle Councilwoman Sally Clark said.

Clark told Reuters that some 80 medical marijuana dispensaries have sprung up in Seattle over the last few years, but of those, only about 50 have officially registered with the city. The mayor is expected to sign the ordinance as early as Tuesday. Once signed, the measure would go into effect in 30 days.

But not all medical marijuana proponents are praising the decision. Medical marijuana attorney Douglas Hiatt told The Seattle Times he’s planning to sue the city to block the action. “He says marijuana remains illegal under both federal and state law, and the city does not have authority to regulate an illegal substance,” according to the Times.

And while we’re on the topic, check out these recent stories on the gray area that exists in the world of medical marijuana and the Wallingford Cannabis Farmer’s Market.

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Rasmussen visits U-District

March 4th, 2011 by master

Seattle City Councilman Tom Rasmussen will be in the U-District this Saturday (3/5) as part of his tour across the city. These informal conversations are in response to the outpouring of residents who attended his neighborhood chats last fall. All topics are on the table. You can drop by the University Branch Library at 5009 Roosevelt Way from 2pm to 3:30pm.

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Would you support an evening closure of The Ave?

October 18th, 2010 by master

City Councilmember Sally Clark continues to float an idea of regularly closing stretches of some streets to traffic, turning them into pedestrian boulevards during the evening hours.  She mentioned the idea during a City Council walking tour of University Way back in June, and once again brought it up in a recent newsletter.  One of the streets she’s talking about is University Way:

I’ve been talking with the Capitol Hill Community Council, the Capitol Hill Chamber, and I’ve now begun connecting with business owners on the hill to talk about how an evening closure might work. Maybe Capitol Hill isn’t the best venue. Maybe Ballard Ave. Maybe University Way. Mayor McGinn’s staff has been warmly receptive to exploring this idea. We’ll likely work together through the winter with the hopes of a possible test next spring or summer.

 

Sally Clark tours The Ave with other councilmembers in June

Clark says she’s not proposing the streets be closed off during the day.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not ready to shut down Rainier and Greenwood weekly during the workday. Our city’s roadways are essential to moving people, freight and services through our city and, at this stage of our development as a city, for the small businesses we love. However, we can push ourselves to think of the street network more creatively.

What do you think?  Would closing part of The Ave regularly during the evenings build a better sense of community or create even more problems?  You can read more about the idea in Clark’s newsletter here.

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