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Everett may allow more marijuana shops to open with October vote

See maps of the boundaries below.


EVERETT — Soon, three new marijuana shops could open around town, if the council increases Everett’s cannabis store limit to eight.
Each must offer medicinal marijuana, a new city rule meant to increase accessibility, but the rest of their menu is up to them.
The City Council will make its decision at its Oct. 14 meeting.
Outside of choosing whether to allow more shops, the council also will be asked whether to chop 2,000 feet off of the city’s mandated buffer space between shops, which if approved could let marijuana shops open as close as one-tenth of a mile away from each other. The current separation space requires stores to stay about half-a-mile from each other.
The city allows five stores at the moment.
A council workgroup studied the impacts on crime rates and other factors, and concluded three more stores is OK. A council vote to go ahead on it earlier this year got sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic.
The council is looking to allow just three more shops because there are just three licensees waiting to open within Everett.
The future stores’ locations are to be determined. They have state certificates of license setting their place in line, but the state guidelines changed so licensees don’t have to pay to lease a space while unable to open shop because of local limits.
Everett set a five-store cap a few years ago out of caution, in part to watch how the existing stores worked out. The state granted the city the ability to allow up to 10 stores based on presumed demand. (Some cities, such as Snohomish, Monroe and Lynnwood, have declined to allow any.)
Joshua Estes represents one of the would-be retailers as a client for Mukilteo-based company Pacific Northwest Regional Strategies.
Overall, marijuana retailers want to be treated like any other company, he said, pointing out during an interview that the stores make community donations.
“These three (licensees) have been very respectful of the city process” in waiting, Estes said.
Everett has enough geographic space to let marijuana retailers spread out without clustering, he said. “If anything, there’s a demand and a need” for more stores.
He said that it’s proving false that more shops would create market over-saturation that hurts existing retailers. The case example he gave is how one of his other clients, Kushman’s, opened at Evergreen and Holly in summer 2019 and grew its sales without stealing sales away from KushMart about two miles north near Evergreen and Pecks Drive.
502data.com, an industry tracking website that graphs sales and retail tax data, indicates KushMart’s sales
wavered during fall 2019, but didn’t erode.
KushMart is Everett’s most active retailer, and one of the region’s highest-grossing in terms of sales.
Incidentally, most area pot retailers showed a jolt of more sales after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in March, from 502data’s graphs.
Kushman’s opened when it took the city’s fifth license slot when an other retail shop was shut down in Silver Lake.
Everett’s three other stores are on north Broadway, on Rucker Avenue south of 41st Street, and in downtown near the I-5 exit at Maple Street and Everett Avenue.



Maps of the boundaries with example 2,500 and 500 foot buffers:
Click on each to open in a new, larger window

2,500 foot buffer:



500 foot buffer:


Images developed by City of Everett planning department

  

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