Despite the litigious warnings of one potential marijuana entrepreneur, the Spokane Valley City Council OK’d Tuesday the first reading of permanent zoning regulations aimed at restricting where pot-based businesses can locate.
The council is expected to make its final decision next Tuesday, July 22.
Justin Peterson, however, said he will have to pick another spot if he wants to open a retail marijuana store in Spokane Valley and said the city’s rules, which mirror an interim ordinance already in effect, are too strict.
“We’re not big business,” Peterson told the council. “We’re local and we want a partnership with the city of Spokane Valley.”
Peterson added, however, that he has been advised by an attorney that he has a “strong case” that the city is being too heavy handed on where pot shops can open.
Under the city’s rules, as with state law, marijuana retail establishments are not allowed to operate within 1,000 feet of schools, daycares, recreational centers or other locations where children might gather. The council, however, has wanted to make sure further protections extend to areas such as the Centennial Trail and the future Appleway Trail along with potential libraries and city-owned property.
Peterson said he has had two permits denied because his store would be located near possible future libraries at Balfour and Sprague and in Greenacres on Conklin Road.
Spokane Valley will be allocated three state-issued retail licenses, with Peterson expecting to be the holder of one of them.
Erik Lamb, deputy city attorney, said the state Liquor Control Board has indicated it will support additional regulations imposed by local jurisdictions working through the ramifications of Initiative 502, which legalized the sale of marijuana in Washington.