King County, WA Passes Moratorium on New Marijuana Businesses

Seattle’s Metropolitan King County Council has approved a four-month moratorium on applications for cannabis producers, processors, and retailers in unincorporated areas of King County.

The emergency bill, drafted by Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn, was written to address concerns about a recent increase in the number of applicants seeking approval to operate in rural parts of unincorporated King County. Council members are concerned that allowing production in these areas could violate King County’s rural zoning laws.

“For unincorporated communities in King County, the Council acts as the local government,” said Dunn. “It is therefore our job to make sure we are adequately serving and protecting the areas we represent. This moratorium will give us more time to study this issue in more depth and potentially make changes to better preserve rural communities.”

Rural zoning laws in King County were written with the intent to “preserve the rural character” of unincorporated areas. Rural residents have voiced concerns about the potential impact of cannabis production facilities in their communities, such as neighborhood crime, smells, noise, and environmental dangers.

The King County Council will study the potential for these during the moratorium, which began April 25th. The moratorium does not affect areas within city limits.

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