Zoning vote keeps pot-shops out of certain neighborhoods




Posted on September 24, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 25 at 12:18 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Spokane City leaders approved zoning regulations for new marijuana laws on Monday night. The regulations state where marijuana can be sold in the city. It also said that the drug will not be allowed in popular places such as the Garland District.

The rules apply to the entire city, but some people would like to see shops in all corners of Spokane.

"You have to have reasonable access," said Paul Lugo, Herbal Connections Director. "Otherwise, people will use the black market."

Herbal Connections is a medical marijuana dispensary in the Garland District. Lugo's shop will be the only shop allowed in that zone according to the new rules. The shop was grandfathered in under old regulations.

"Because of the number of taverns we have, and the liquor stores, we were worried about one more adult-type store," said Julie Shephard-Hill, owner of Zipperz. "We have a lot of kids that walk on our streets.

Many people shared concerns at a city council meeting on Monday night about keeping marijuana retailers away from Spokane's other businesses. Any new shop wanting to sell marijuana will have to do it in the more dense commercial areas, not near local neighborhoods.

Lugo said the city is working hard to be fair, but it will have to be careful not to keep pot sales in the shadows.

State law will allow for eight retail marijuana shops within the Spokane City limits. Several of the current dispensaries said that they will consider selling recreational marijuana after all of these new rules and regulations get hammered out.

Herbal Connections specifically told KREM 2 News that if they decide to pursue that route, it will not be in the Garland District.