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Everett may increase marijuana store limit by 3

EVERETT — Sometime early next year, an ordinance to add three more marijuana retail stores will be put before the City Council.
Under the ordinance framework, any new stores would be obligated to have a medical endorsement.
There is only a handful of sites where a store could open.
The city’s Public Safety Subcommittee, a workgroup of City Council members, scrutinized police incident data and other facets before concluding last week that there isn’t a public safety concern over adding stores.
Three stores is the magic number because the city says this is how many outfits have valid state licenses that are waiting to open in Everett.
Stores rarely turn over. The only shuffle happened when Mari J’s Highway Pot Shop in Silver Lake went kaput earlier this year. KushMan’s was next on the list of licensees to open, and did so near Evergreen Way and Holly Drive over the summer. Everett’s other first four shops to establish themselves during 2015 and 2016 still have their doors open.
The city set a five-shop limit in 2016. The state Liquor and Cannabis Board says Everett can allow up to 10 stores if it wanted.
A few City Council members have made it clear that their interest in more stores is to ensure that residents have more options for medical marijuana access.
Of Everett’s five shops, two carry a medical marijuana endorsement. The endorsement indicates a shop often has a certified medical marijuana specialist on staff.
Three of the handful of shops just outside city limits also carry the endorsement, from a Tribune review of state Liquor and Cannabis Board records.
There are about two dozen parcels where a new retailer would be able to locate, from what city planning director Allan Giffen walked through at last week’s meeting.
Logistically, though, some of those parcels already are occupied, and some landlords won’t rent to marijuana outfits. Other sites are in relative seclusion, such as near the industrial side of north Everett.
The city has some rules limiting where stores can be located. One is that a store cannot face residences or abut an alleyway shared with a residence.
The state prohibits stores from being 1,000 feet near a park, day care, school, arcade, or public transit center. So no stores close to Everett Station, for example.
Everett set a 2,500 foot buffer between stores.
Incidentally, the site where Mari J’s Highway Pot Shop located violates the rules today. It is within 1,000 feet of the Everett Mall transit station, which is on the other side of Interstate 5.
The city’s five-store limit was set in 2016 as a safeguard when the state upped Everett’s quota to 10 stores; at the time, it was doubling the number of store licenses statewide. Each city has an allocated number of stores.
The state doubled the license count in 2016 to basically compensate for the Legislature outlawing medical marijuana dispensaries, which were in operation before the voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. There were more than 1,500 active dispensaries before the shutdown.
Crime calls among three of Everett’s five shops is fractional, with a few logging less than one police call per month ­— comparable to a bar — a police department analysis from earlier this year showed. The city’s most frequented store logged more calls, but also is one of the county’s busiest stores.

— Material from Tribune archive reporting is included in this story.



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