For weeks now, we have been seeing countless images of massive grow operations in Colorado, some of which house up to 10,000 plants in a single commercial space. Many I-502 stakeholders wondered whether Washington State would follow suit by also allowing large scale cannabis grow operations. Though Washington’s Liquor Control Board (LCB) has not yet proposed any limitations on production for growers, Seattle’s City council spoke loud and clear last night by approving a new cannabis zoning ordinance that allows cannabis growers to locate in industrial spaces of up to 50,000 square feet.
The North Seattle Industrial Association was none too happy about the proposed cannabis ordinance and stated its objections to the city council. Though the Association doesn’t have any personal beef with cannabis, the Association’s president, Eugene Wasserman, stated that “[the Association’s] members are afraid of being priced out,” by property and rental values being be driven up by an influx of cannabis growers moving in. In response to the Association’s objections, the council reasoned that:
Growing operations as big as 50,000 square feet . . . are warranted because the real estate needed to have many smaller indoor farms is scarce, and economies of scale achieved by larger farms might lower production costs and pot prices. [And that] big farms might be easier to secure, as well.
Despite Seattle’s generous cannabis zoning ordinance, I-502 stakeholders must still grapple with the State’s 1,000-foot rule when looking for space for their cannabis business — not to mention the Feds’ 1,000-foot sentencing guidelines.