Marijuana Regulation Changes Effective as of January 12, 2016

The City of Seattle has approved Ordinance 124969. The ordinance included updated rules for minimum distance between marijuana-related businesses and public uses and amenities. It also changes rules for how many marijuana retail businesses may locate near each other. State licensing has also recently allowed the opportunity for some medical marijuana establishments to obtain licenses and convert to retail businesses.

The buffer distances between marijuana-related businesses and public uses and amenities in the new rules include:

  • No more than two state-licensed marijuana retail businesses to be located within 1,000 feet of each other
  • A 500-foot distance separating marijuana retail businesses from: child care centers, game arcades, libraries, public parks, public transit centers, or recreation centers or facilities, except 250 feet in certain mixed zones in Downtown north of Yesler Way
  • A 250-foot distance separating marijuana uses without retail sales from those uses listed above
  • A 1,000-foot distance from elementary schools, secondary schools, and playgrounds


The State Liquor and Cannabis Board decides on the licensing of these businesses, and the City of Seattle provides comments on license applications, about whether locations meet requirements such as minimum distances from parks and schools. 

Seattle DCI will be developing informational material, including a map illustrating what this ordinance means for buffer distances, distance between stores, and other factors. We anticipate this map will be available by late February.

For more information, contact:

Gordon Clowers
(206) 684-8375