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Kirkland moms oppose marijuana retail location in Market neighborhood
Several local moms called on the Kirkland City Council to protest a Kirkland location where three marijuana retail license applicants have applied to set up shop.
McCormick Green, Biloxi Green LLC and Mind’s Eye applied for marijuana retail licenses with the Washington State Liquor Control Board with hopes to run their business at 1818 Market Street, a house-turned-office space surrounded by condos, apartments and houses just east of Market Street.
Another marijuana retail license applicant, Green Bee, has applied for a Totem Lake location, 12700 NE 124th St., Ste. 1 in Kirkland.
But Kirstin Larson, a member of the West and East of Market Moms group, said the concern lies with the Market location.
“This location is not adjacent to other commercial areas -- it is a single family residence surrounded by other residences,” Larson said in an email. “It is less than 1,050 feet from Juanita Beach Park, four blocks from the middle school, 200 yards away from the Overlake bus stop and on the walking path to Kirkland Middle School (there is not an alternative path, and 19th Avenue does not have sidewalks).”
Larson acknowledges the commercial zone complies with current Liquor Control Board laws -- licenses can only be issued for stores located 1,000 feet from elementary or secondary schools, playgrounds, child care centers, public parks, public transit centers, libraries or any game arcade where minors are allowed. But she believes allowing marijuana businesses to be at the Market location violates the intent of that law.
Larson, who lives west of Market Street, said she sent an email to her fellow East of Market Moms group after learning of the license applicants and within 10 minutes at least 20 people had responded with “a good deal of concerns.”
And because I-502, the initiative that passed last year legalizing marijuana, is such a new and unprecedented law, there are fears that marijuana retail customers will purchase the product and consume it in their vehicles in the Market neighborhood.
With a fifth grader set to be in middle school next year, Larson fears the possibility of illegal sales.
“People who will want to sell to kids or other people around those areas at a non-taxed price, for example,” she said. “That would be a concern for me. Kids in that proximity puts them closer at risk.”
Larson said she doesn’t think anyone is looking at this as opposition to I-502 adding that she voted for the law herself.
But she does feel that there needs to be responsibility in where these marijuana shops are located.
“It doesn’t make sense to put them in a neighborhood,” she said, comparing them to liquor stores.
Additionally, she said there is a concern from a public safety standpoint.
Emergency vehicle access is limited because the property is surrounded by residences on three sides and traffic medians prevent emergency vehicles from traveling south on Market Street.
“This property violates the intent of the zoning regulations, which is to keep neighborhoods safe and to keep children out of the path of a dispensary,” Larson said.
A marijuana producer license applicant with the business name In Good Spirits has applied to grow marijuana at 13613 NE 126th Place, Ste. 350 in Kirkland and the business owner of Wakalolo has applied for a marijuana processor license at 723 Ninth Ave., Ste. A in Kirkland.
The Liquor Control Board marijuana license application deadline is Dec. 20.
For more information on I-502 rules and licensing requirements, visit liq.wa.gov/marijuana/I-502.