Board to file single revision to marijuana rules regarding 1,000’ buffer measurement

Emergency rule will not affect implementation timeline

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) announced today that it will file an emergency rule on October 16, 2013, to make a single technical revision to the recreational marijuana rules. The emergency rule will revise the method of measurement of the 1,000 foot buffer measurement between a licensed marijuana business and an elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or arcade where admission is not restricted to those age 21 and older. The emergency rule will not affect the Initiative 502 implementation timeline.

The current proposed rules filed with the Code Reviser on September 4, 2013, state “the distance shall be measured along the most direct route over or across established public walks, streets, or other public passageway between the proposed building/business location to the perimeter of the grounds.”

The emergency rule will state: “The distance shall be measured as the shortest straight line distance from the property line of the licensed premises to the property line of the entities listed below…”

“The current measurement mirrors the existing method of measurement between liquor-licensed businesses and schools,” said agency director Rick Garza. “We’ve since learned that this measurement, as it pertains to marijuana, conflicts with federal law. Although the emergency rule won’t be filed until October 16, it is critical that we announce our intentions now so that potential licensees, local government and law enforcement will have clarity and predictability going forward.”

Timeline (2013)

  • Oct. 08           
    Public Hearing on permanent rules in Seattle
  • Oct. 09            
    Public Hearing on permanent rules in Spokane
  • Oct. 16            
    Board adoption of permanent rules
    Board adoption of emergency rule on 1,000 foot measurement
  • Nov. 16           
    Permanent rules become effective
  • Nov. 17           
    Emergency rule on 1,000 foot measurement becomes effective
  • Nov. 18           
    WSLCB begins taking license applications (30-day window)
  • Dec. 01           
    Deadline for adopting I-502 rules

For more information regarding the implementation of I-502 including summaries of the law and rules, answers to frequently asked questions and other documents, please visit the WSLCB website at


Printer-friendly version