LETTER: Reader responds to Jack Mayne’s Commentary on legal pot stores

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The White Center Blog nor its staff:]

NOTE: The following Letter is in response to our “The Mayne Problem” audio commentary by Jack Mayne on pot stores in south King County (click the “Play” button to listen):

I believe that marijuana should be legal for adults, well regulated and widely available. Unfortunately, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has called the fairness of its regulation into question by the remarkable difference in the concentration of pot stores it will allow in neighboring communities in the south end.

As mentioned in the Podcast, the state has licensed 2 stores each in Des Moines (population approximately 30,000) and Burien (population over 49,000), the maximum it will allow under its regulation in both cities.

While also true that SeaTac and Kent have approved bans on sales, for the record Kent is allowed a maximum of 3 stores under WSLCB regulation and SeaTac is limited to 1 store.

Now turning the reader’s attention to White Center/North Highline, the WSLCB had already licensed 8 stores there prior to the moratorium recently passed by the King County Council. There seems no zoning rule or regulation in current King County Code that would prevent all of these stores from opening in White Center and remaining open indefinitely during or after the moratorium, even if subsequent zoning rules are passed that would have prevented them, since existing land uses must be grandfathered in as nonconforming uses unless that use is abandoned.

Now consider this: the greater White Center community (aka North Highline) has a population much smaller than either Des Moines or Burien. The unincorporated population that justifies so many retail marijuana stores in the eyes of the WSLCB is actually located in East King County, where more than 200,000 of the current unincorporated population of 252,000 lives. Skyway’s population is similar to North Highline’s, and their combined population exceeds the population of Des Moines by just 5,000 or so. Both White Center and Skyway are majority-minority communities in the ethnic makeup of our residents. By concentrating so many retail marijuana stores in such small and far-removed communities, the WSLCB fails to make them widely available to the entire population their number was intended to serve.

Second, even though state law mandates that pot stores may not be located within 1,000 feet of arcades that cater to all ages customers, the WSLCB has unapologetically sited 5 such stores within 1,000 feet of the Full Tilt Ice Cream arcade in White Center (4 in unincorporated King County and 1 across the street in Seattle).

In Skyway, another south King County unincorporated area, one pot store shares a parking lot with a school bus stop. For safety reasons, the bus stop isn’t subject to moving its location, since the roadway there is a state highway with a 50 mile per hour speed limit and moving the bus stop would require young children encounter that highway in ways the bus stop is there to prevent. There is no rule in state law nor WSLCB regulation governing school bus stops in relationship to pot. However this puts the elementary and middle school students that must use that bus stop in the position of compulsory exposure to all its advertisement daily during the school year. And there is already a nearby pot store at the same intersection that has purchased advertising on the two full-size highway billboards right across the highway there, also very visible at the school bus stop.

I do wholeheartedly concur with your commentary that pot stores should not be near where minors are allowed (or compelled) to congregate.

We in these communities do not all believe “that marijuana should be illegal and not available to anyone.” However we do believe that reasonable limits to the number of stores in a community are prudent. And those limits ought to be closer to 1 or 2 each in White Center/North Highline and Skyway than the 8 and 5, respectively, that the WSLCB has actually approved.

Dear reader, marijuana is an adult product, and marijuana businesses are in no way family-oriented. A greater concentration of stores in a small community will inevitably lead to greater exposure about marijuana to children. It would be best if children and youth could be spared from daily inundation with messages about marijuana until they are adults and can make an adult-informed decision about use of the drug.

After all, that’s the norm in more privileged neighborhoods, isn’t it?

Mark Johnston
Skyway resident

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll most likely publish it.]


14 Responses to “LETTER: Reader responds to Jack Mayne’s Commentary on legal pot stores”
  1. Jimmy says:

    Well isn’t the person deciding to open a cannabis shop the one that originally picks there location then the cannabis board decide to approve it or not.

    Since so many city’s have there own bans or a lotted amount of cannabis shop’s. It makes sense that future cannabis shop owners would look to a area with out these limits. This same argument has been apart of talks on annexation some people in these unicorprated areas feel they have a little more freedom than being part of a city. This is one of those freedoms of not having to drive or walk to far to get some legal cannabis. This is also one the reason why there are so many medical cannabis shop’s in the same area’s.

    • Jimmy says:

      Also there is approximately 8,212 corner stores , grocery stores and liquor stores across Washington. That currently sell alcohol in Washington state. This doe not include bars,taverns, or restaurants. Mr Johnston you want to complain about amount shop’s selling cannabis to the low income. I just had a low income family friend that passed away from drinking 211 still reserve for about 7 years 5 1/2 legal years and got addicted end up dying in front of a bar That ironically doesn’t even serve that kind of beer at the age 26.

      Now how many people do you know that have died from smoking legal cannabis sir. I have also had a few low income family members that have suffered life ending side effects from legal prescription drugs. Do to the fact that most low income doctors will over prescribe over the counter pain medication instead of prescribing a narcotic pain med even in the smallest of amounts or forms.

      Which some these family members could of just smoke some cannabis and been fine but with the way the medical cannabis laws are it made it hard for doctors to even recommend the use of cannabis. Among how much profit loss they would have. That and most if anything to save there own butt would recommend a low income patient go and spend a $100 to $500 dollars at some street side clinic to see a “doctor” that then recommends the use of cannabis. Instead of seeing your main doctor.

    • Mark J says:

      Jimmy, your argument about 8 stores in White Center (or 5 in Skyway for that matter) are necessary for the freedom of residents not having to drive or walk too far to buy legal cannabis argues against itself. The fact is that by siting 15 out of the 16 pot stores it has located in unincorporated King County on the west side of the county, the WSLCB has largely ignored the vast majority of the residents in East King County.

      This is a regulated business by law, but the WSLCB’s actions don’t match its policies.

      • Jimmy says:

        Where in the I-502 does it state that the state of washingtion is choosing these location for the people. Because as I understand it. If a person of legal age of 21 or older wants to start a cannabis shop they have to find a location in a city that does not have a ban or it’s allotted amount of stores or in a area like unincorporated king county. That meets these requirements then that it’s not near a school and meets all the other requirements. Then the person files the paper work with state for approval.

        Then the state checks the paper work out checks the location. Then they approve it if meets these requirements.

        Don’t you think people interested in starting a cannabis shop realized that if they start one now in white center or skyway it will be grandfather in if they get annexed to Seattle or another city. So it’s kinda of a good idea to start now since people are noticing hey this works the feds are not kicking down doors. We can sell legal cannabis and make money!!!

        • Mark J says:

          Jimmy, communities and neighborhoods all around Washington will have the opportunity to have a normal and prudent number of retail pot stores sited in their communities now and in coming years. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board set these norms as an implicit part of their policies, under their mandate to regulate the marijuana industry written into the law.

          But not White Center and Skyway, where the concentration of pot stores imposed by the State is far above the norm. Why is that, and why has regulation been so uneven in these very diverse communities?

          The WSLCB has stated that its goal, in particular, is to make pot widely available so that legal stores displace black market sales to the greatest extent possible.

          The fact is, the State’s implementation of retail marijuana in unincorporated King County has failed to reach its own self-made goals.

          • Jimmy says:

            Yes and the WSLCB has worked with city’s and counties including king county and King county say ok. So why try to blame the WSLCB for this. As if they trying trying force cannabis use on to a diverse community. A diverse community that has had cannabis available for years medically and underground. See in my eye’s and doing a little research on you Mark Johnston I found you have done some work with what seems to be some political action groups in the skyway area. These types of groups like to be some type of word smith’s like you have shown. They also like to pressure people running for different offices of government to sway there way or it’s the highway. They also tend to try to make a situation out of nothing. Now if you a problem with the county decision to allow the these cannabis shop’s to be approved by the WSLCB with out any complaint’s by king county about the number of store’s they have approved or there locations. Why do you still blame the WSLCB for this and not king county for not raising any red flags to this from the start. May be it’s your ties to the county as part of the steering group fo the skyway west hills action plan. Since they work with king county so closely. Is there some reason you did not bring this up to county until now.

  2. Jimmy says:

    Also the 1000 foot buffer zone has actually been changed to 100 feet except for elementary and secondary schools.

    You can find that information easily by looking at FAQ at WSCLB website

    So this makes me wonder Mr Johnston if your so on top of this law why would you not know about this change or are you trying to further your argument with untruthful comments.

    See another way political action groups get more attention to a situation by using old information hoping people won’t take the time to verify the information as current and correct.

    • Mark J says:

      Jimmy, the buffer remains 1,000 feet in unincorporated King County. And the King County Executive has proposed a 1,000 foot buffer between retail marijuana stores in unincorporated King County.

      • Jimmy says:

        Interesting I can’t find any special laws for king county on this other than before the law change. So why don’t you ask the king county Executive why king county has given the ok for these stores and is collecting business taxes and issuing business licenses to these location. Also have you talked with the owners of full tilt in white center on how they feel about this and does there business license state they are a arcade.


        In section 7 (a) Before the state liquor and cannabis board issues a new or renewed license to an applicant it must give notice of the application to the chief executive officer of the incorporated city or town, if the application is for a license within an incorporated city or town, or to the county legislative authority, if the application is for a license outside the boundaries of incorporated cities or towns.

        (d) Upon the granting of a license under this title the state liquor and cannabis board must send written notification to the chief executive officer of the incorporated city or town in which the license is granted, or to the county legislative authority if the license is granted outside the boundaries of incorporated cities or towns.
        (8)(a) Except as provided in (b) through (d) of this subsection, the state liquor and cannabis board may not issue a license for any premises within one thousand feet of the perimeter of the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, or library, or any game arcade admission to which is not restricted to persons aged twenty-one years or older.
        (b) A city, county, or town may permit the licensing of premises within one thousand feet but not less than one hundred feet of the facilities described in (a) of this subsection, except elementary schools, secondary schools, and playgrounds, by enacting an ordinance authorizing such distance reduction, provided that such distance reduction will not negatively impact the jurisdiction’s civil regulatory enforcement, criminal law enforcement interests, public safety, or public health.

  3. Jimmy says:

    Also in part of teaching young people about cannabis they need to know about moderation and that over use could become a problem in some circumstances. Like with anything in the world you need to use moderation like you don’t go eat spoon fulls of mayo just because makes a sandwich taste better. Why would you need to smoke a once a pot in day. You don’t start exercising by running 100 mile marathon you start slow find a pace that works for you. If you choose to do these actives.

  4. Jimmy says:

    The fultilt also has a liquor license and serve beer . Just in case you are not aware of the fact. Also just a side note people that consume cannabis tend to like sweet snacks like ice cream and some enjoy playing retro pinball games.

  5. Mark J says:

    The apparently inexorable increase continues, more than than 2 years on.

    Just last month (August 2018) a sixth retail marijuana store opened in White Center. Yet none have appeared in the unincorporated county where most unincorporated residents live.

    Is it really true that this is OK?

    • Captain obvious says:

      In your argument about there not being cannabis retail in the other unincorporated area’s of king county . Has there been any one trying to open cannabis retail locations in those areas . Before your argument was King county and liquor board are opening these stores in white center and skyway to keep low income people in poverty . Now you are saying there is some other type of conspiracy to keep these retail locations from opening in other areas . Maybe people in those area’s don’t feel a need or maybe not enough open spots to rent .

      So when the king county business license office approved Mr buds business license and liquor board approved there application none of them look at the location and the 1000 foot buffer rule .

      Or is it there license was approved before the rule and took some time to get the location up and running . Something else that allowed them to open .

      • Captain obvious says:

        Also some of the locations in white center and skyway have a medically endorsement . So not just recreational store’s but for cancer patients and other medical cannabis reasons .

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