City of Yakima to take next steps in legalized marijuana busines - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

City of Yakima to take next steps in legalized marijuana business discussion

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UPDATE: Yakima, WA - City officials gathered Wednesday, to discuss potential business locations for legalized marijuana businesses.  There are many factors that play into the placement of any business or residence in a city, and marijuana businesses are no different.

In the first of many study sessions, city attorneys and planners helped commissioners understand the rules set by Washington State Initiative 502, all to help decide how the city can work with the state laws in Yakima.

Some state rules are more flexible than others, and most of them break down to zones and buffers.  Zones are where these businesses will be allowed to be, and buffers mean a specific distance the shops need to be from certain areas.

Though, the discussions are still in the early stages, some commissioners took the time to express which way they are leaning toward when weighing the options. 

"I see this as a situation where we can look, and say lets start cautiously, and see what happens, see what some of the long term results are before we get broader with it," said Patricia Byers, Vice Chair of the Yakima Planning Commission.

Some commissioners want to stick with the strictest version of the rules, while other members voiced showing a little more flexibility in the city.

"I don't see why we would want to make it more difficult for growers and retailers to operate especially with how heavy the volume of tax resources we would collect from them," said Gavin Keefe, Yakima Planning Commissioner.

During the meeting drafts of three different potential map layouts were handed out.  Displaying different buffers that can range from 1000 feet, 500 feet, and 100 feet from restricted locations.

Through state law, the city can only give five marijuana business licenses.

The meeting lasted for just about an hour, and there is still much to be discussed to ensure sure commissioners satisfy what the Yakima City Council wants.

The next planning meeting is set for June 1st.

For more information on the State Initiative 502, click here.

Yakima, WA -   The City of Yakima Planning Commission, City Planning staff, and the City Attorneys are set for a meeting on Tuesday, May 23rd, at 3 p.m. During the special study session, members will discuss terms of the recent approval to allow marijuana businesses within city limits.

Planning staff and attorneys will explain the Washington state regulations and boundaries for Initiative 502 on legalized marijuana, to help the planning commissioners assist city planners on the appropriate zoning and buffers that apply to marijuana businesses.

"Zoning controls for I-502 would be limiting where and what zoning districts those businesses could locate in, in the city of Yakima.  For example, you may want to go and limit where production and processing goes, that's what we're talking about we're talking about looking at the areas and the zoning districts where you can locate I-502 businesses both the retail, processing, and growing," said Jeff Peters, Supervising Planner, for the City of Yakima.

Zoning areas characterized by: residential, industrial, and business.  After city planners and attorneys brief the planning commissioners, members will discuss the potential business locations, and the direction that the city wants to go in with the new businesses.

The meeting is open to the public, anyone who wants to attend is free to, the meeting will occur in Yakima City Council Chambers at 3 p.m.

Before, any suggestions make their way to City Council, the City Planning Department will hold more public study sessions, and final public hearing.

Council is expected to hear suggestions from the planning department in early July.