King County Passes Emergency Legislation

King County Council passed a four-month moratorium on April 25, 2016. The emergency legislation, sponsored by Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn affects all new producers, processors, and retailers in unincorporated King County. The primary rationale is to preserve the intent of rural zoning regulations in King County. The Council found that possible impacts from marijuana businesses included increased neighborhood crime, odors, noise, and potential environmental hazards.

For unincorporated communities in King County, the Council acts as the local government, Dunn said. It is, therefore, our job to make sure we are adequately serving and protecting the areas we represent. This moratorium will give us more time to study this issue in more depth and potentially make changes to better preserve rural communities.

The Councils vote on the moratorium was in part a response to the unincorporated residents who attended the King County Councils Committee of the Whole in the unincorporated community of Ravensdale. 173 members of the public were in attendance at this meeting, although no members of the public were present when the King County Counsel voted on the legislation.

In order to review these concerns in rural areas, the King County Council voted to pass an emergency four- month moratorium on the acceptance of applications for or the establishment or location of marijuana producers and processors. The emergency moratorium on marijuana producers and processors in unincorporated King County is outlined as follows:

It will be in place for four months starting today, April 25, 2016
It prohibits King County (Department of Permitting and Environmental Review, Public Health, Road Services Division, etc.) from accepting any permits for new marijuana producers, processors, and retail operations.
It also prohibits new producers, processors, and retail operations from starting operations, in order to address smaller businesses that were established without requiring any County permits.
It only applies to the unincorporated area, not any area within city limits.