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Lake Stevens amends Marijuana Ordinance

LAKE STEVENS, Wash., June 18, 2021 – Lake Stevens City Council passed Ordinance 1119 during their meeting on June 8, updating regulations on marijuana facilities development. The ordinance amends two Lake Stevens Municipal Codes (LSMC) under Title 14 Land Use Code: 14.44.097 Marijuana Facilities and 14.08.010 Definitions of Basic Terms. Four voted in favor of the measure: with council members Anji Jorstad and Steve Ewing against and Shawn Frederick abstaining.

The ordinance was recommended by the Lake Stevens Planning Commission and makes several changes to the municipal code. The primary change involved updating the language for child care centers for the city to specifically define family or in-home day care providers.

“…[T]he state had revised their definition of child care centers back in 2018 so that it no longer applied to in-home child care facilities—in-home day care providers,” City Planner David Levitan said in the meeting. “So what are called family day care providers are not subject to that 1000 foot buffer between that use and marijuana facilities.”

This buffer Levitan mentioned does not allow marijuana facilities to be within 1000 feet of schools, playgrounds, recreational centers, child care centers, public parks, transit centers, libraries and game arcades that allow minors. With the ordinance, this now includes family day care providers. This 1000 foot buffer is the standard set under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), but can be lowered if a city chooses.

Two other major changes in the ordinance were a new citywide limit of 17,000 square feet for standalone marijuana processing facilities and a reduction of the citywide limit on marijuana production facilities from 70,000 square feet to 54,000 square feet. 

According to Levitan, the reduction to 54,000 square feet “basically coincides with the square footage of currently licensed marijuana producers in the city of Lake Stevens.” This was later confirmed by Council Member Jorstad during questioning, meaning the number of production facilities in Lake Stevens has essentially reached its cap. 

This is also the case for standalone processing facilities. Levitan mentioned that there are currently two processing facilities in Lake Stevens: a 15,000 square foot processor and a 1,500 square foot processor. 

“In general, speaking for the commission as kind of a whole… there was a desire for a greater diversity of uses within our industrial area and also a general thought that there should be additional restrictions on marijuana businesses within the city,” Levitan said. “I would assume that factored into the motion and unanimous passing of that motion.”

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