Brynn Grimley (253) 983-7761 • Fax (253) 589-3774 • bgrimley@cityoflakewood.us
Communications Manager

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Five years after Washington voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana the Lakewood City Council is revisiting how the landscape has changed.

The City Council wants to see what other cities in the region have done around marijuana operations. That includes looking at cities that have banned marijuana businesses and those that allow them.

At a study session March 13 the council tasked city staff with researching various questions around marijuana sales.

The information is expected to be presented to the City Council in April.

The council requested:

  • Examples of zoning and licensing from other cities allowing marijuana operations
  • Examples of ordinances banning marijuana operations
  • A look at Lakewood zoning to determine where marijuana businesses could be located based on state buffer restrictions

Across the region cities and counties have taken varied stances on marijuana. Some like Gig Harbor and DuPont have implemented bans, while others like Tacoma have allowed businesses to set up shop.

Elsewhere cities that once had bans in place have since lifted them, as was the case recently in Fife.

Two years ago the city of Federal Way held an advisory vote to see whether its residents wanted marijuana businesses in city limits. The overwhelming majority of voters said no and the City Council instituted a ban – this after 53 percent of Federal Way voters approved passage of Initiative 502 that legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.

In neighboring University Place, the City Council is debating whether to remove its ban in favor of allowing a single retail store as allocated by the state Liquor and Cannabis Board.

The Fircrest City Council also recently voted to allow marijuana sales in the city – a move that came after city leaders determined the city needed to take a stance one way or the other on marijuana.

To date the Lakewood City Council has had minimal conversations around marijuana. The city does not have a ban, nor does it have regulations that would support the establishment of marijuana businesses.

Instead the city has a license requirement that states all businesses must obtain a business license to legally operate in city limits. A condition of the license is that a business complies with all local, state and federal laws.

Marijuana remains an illegal substance under federal law.

Once presented with the information the City Council will determine how it wants to proceed with the conversation.