Seattle pot zones could create marijuana district

Now that marijuana is legal, Seattle is considering zoning pot businesses out of much of the city.

The new zoning plan would keep growers and retailers away from popular tourist spots, and essentially create a large marijuana district in the SODO neighborhood.

It’s what Dante Jones, who owns a Ballard medical marijuana business and plans on expanding into a retail pot store, calls, “a green light district if you will.”

The new restrictions would keep commercial marijuana business out of most areas downtown, including popular tourist spots like pike place and pioneer square.

Seattle City Councilor Sally Clark said the zoning changes aren’t about keeping the pot biz out of the public’s eyes, but regulating a new industry.

“It’s not often you actually have a brand new business appear in the city,” said Clark. “We began to look at this because  with every other type of business we have some zoning rules.”

Once the state sets the rules for pot retailers and distributors, they’ll already be restricted in much of Seattle because, according to I-502, which legalized pot, those businesses can’t be within a thousand feet of anywhere that kids gather, like schools, daycares, and playgrounds.

That will leave just a few areas in the city to grow or buy legal pot.

Danta Jones said he’s lucky. His Ballard store also falls within a zone allowing pot retail sales.

Jones is glad the city is taking this step. By creating zoning, he said Seattle is finally respecting the pot industry as a legitimate business.