City council president Sally Clark was one of just two votes yesterday against an amendment to legislation regulating recreational pot dispensaries that allows existing medical-pot growing facilities to continue operating while limiting new facilities' ability to locate in some industrial zones.
The legislation (which ultimately passed 8-0, with Tom Rasmussen absent) allows pot grows of up to 20,000 square feet in some industrial areas (the original bill would have allowed indoor grows of up to 50,000 square feet). And it requires recreational marijuana dispensaries, which will be legal under state law starting this year, to obtain a state license to operate, but will also require medical pot dispensaries to obtain a state license themselves—a state license that does not currently exist—and restrict them to certain industrially zoned parts of the city.
However, under the amendment Clark, along with council member Tim Burgess, voted against, the new law will also allow the city to extend currently existing medical marijuana licenses beyond that 2015 deadline if the state has not created its own recreational pot license by the deadline.
In an email to members of EastPAC, a Central District neighborhood group, East Precinct Advisory Council chair Stephanie Tschida notes that 23rd and Union is the only area in the east or southeast part of the city where pot dispensaries would be allowed. (Pot shops will be restricted in areas within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds, and other areas where children might be present.)
In a letter to the state liquor control board, which is responsible for drafting rules governing marijuana grow operations and dispensaries, city council member Nick Licata expressed concern that the proposed restrictions "could potentially result in clustering of retail sales in a few areas, and other eligible areas having no retail locations. ... We encourage you to incorporate consideration of geographic dispersion of retail licenses into your rules."
The liquor control board will meet tonight at 6:00 in the Bertha Knight Landes Room on the ground floor of City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave.