More pot shops could be joining Kush Mart and others in Everett now that the city council has approved increasing the number of stores. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

More pot shops could be joining Kush Mart and others in Everett now that the city council has approved increasing the number of stores. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

City council votes to allow more marijuana shops in Everett

Allowing three more stores, for total of eight, will promote healthy competition, city council members said.

EVERETT — The Everett City Council cleared the way Wednesday for three additional cannabis shops.

Council members voted 6-1 in favor of increasing the number of retail cannabis stores from five to eight. The ordinance requires the stores to be separated by at least 2,500 feet, and any new ones must have a medical marijuana endorsement. Councilmember Scott Bader was the lone no vote.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, which sets the maximum number of marijuana licenses allowed in a municipality, has authorized Everett for up to 10. Local jurisdictions may impose stricter limits.

A handful of people during a public comment period spoke in favor of the ordinance. Jay Hix Jones, an Everett resident and a TV writer who has worked on shows like “Ice Road Truckers” and “Hoarders,” said cannabis made a profound difference in his daughter’s fight with cancer.

“It literally replaced almost all of the addictive narcotics,” said Jones, who also wrote about his family’s experience for Seattle Children’s hospital. “Her appetite came back, and it calmed her nerves during some really unnerving times. … I credit cannabis just as much as the traditional medicines for helping save my daughter’s life.”

Brenda Stonecipher, chair of the public safety subcommittee, said council members consulted the Everett Police Department ahead of the vote. According to numbers provided by police, cannabis stores had either equal to or fewer calls than similar retail outlets that sold controlled substances, such as alcohol. It was a number that surprised at least one council member.

“It might not be an apples-to-apples comparison,” Stonecipher said, but “in the end, the calls for services was not a compelling issue for cannabis stores.”

She also noted that cannabis use among juveniles has decreased somewhat over the past decade, according to surveys. She credited the legalization and regulation of the drug for the drop, claiming it helped push the black market out of business. According to the Liquor and Cannabis Board, cannabis retailers also did a better job than liquor stores in not selling to under-age customers, Stonecipher said.

Council members approving of the legislation argued that allowing more stores means better access not only for recreational customers but for those who need it for health reasons, as well. The increased cap of eight locations would also result in some healthy competition among businesses, Councilmember Scott Murphy said.

He and Stonecipher agreed the current setup allowed a few businesses to have unfettered control of the market in Everett.

Stonecipher said the benefits were made clear as current cannabis retailers lobbied against allowing more stores. She believes a local cannabis store was behind a mailer opposing the increased cap that was sent out last February. The mailer didn’t provide any information on who was behind it or who paid for it.

At least one current cannabis business supports letting more stores open in the city. During public comment, Kushman’s general manager Kristina Franklin said the only reason her business was able to open in Everett was because Mari J’s Highway Pot Shop closed down after encountering some legal challenges.

“Like us, these stores deserve a chance,” Franklin said.

Bader, who voted against the amended ordinance, said he worried about Everett’s image from adding more stores. Including those just outside the city limits, he said, half the cannabis shops in Snohomish County would have an Everett address, while other cities have yet to allow any.

He said he’d like to see other cities move forward with allowing cannabis shops before letting more open in Everett.

“I think it says a lot those jurisdictions haven’t acted,” Bader said. “I think it says a lot about marijuana itself that it is not seen as something just like liquor.”

Councilmember Liz Vogeli noted that discussion about reversing the moratorium in Lynnwood has begun. At a Sept. 14 meeting, Lynnwood Councilmember George Hurst said there were two potential applicants who have been waiting for five years to open a shop in the city — and that it was time to let them.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Construction continues at the site of the Lake Stevens Costco now slated to open Dec. 2. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
Lake Stevens’ new Costco opening delayed till after Thanksgiving

The new warehouse opening was pushed back to Dec. 2. Meanwhile, it’s still under construction.

x
Pedestrian hit, hospitalized after crash on Highway 99 in Edmonds

The person was crossing the highway near 238th Street SW. The driver stayed and cooperated with officers, per Edmonds PD.

Cars drive along 76th Avenue West in front of Edmonds-Woodway High School on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds eyes speed cameras near three schools

Roads near Edmonds-Woodway High, Chase Lake Elementary and Westgate Elementary could get automated enforcement.

Shoppers walk in and out of Macy’s at Alderwood Mall were Black Friday deals are being advertised on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Go ahead, hit snooze: Most Black Friday deals are online

Braving the stores on Black Friday is still a thing, but more retailers are closed on Thanksgiving.

The Smith Ave homelessness camp Thursday afternoon in Everett on March 11, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Audit: Snohomish County lacks data-driven approach to homeless services

The Washington State Auditor’s Office this month published a 73-page report looking into four local governments across the state.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
New director named for county’s Department of Emergency Managment

After six years, Jason Biermann has stepped aside but will stay in Snohomish County. Lucia Schmit will move in from Seattle.

(Dutton)
Pulitzer winner’s new book digs into Snohomish County cold case killings

The Everett library will host a talk with Edward Humes on “The Forever Witness,” about a double murder and pioneering DNA evidence.

Lawmakers meet on the Senate floor, Thursday, March 10, 2022, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington lawmakers were wrapping up their work Thursday with final votes on a supplemental state budget and a transportation revenue package before planning to adjourn the legislative session. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Crime, climate, abortion on docket in legislative session warm-up

Washington lawmakers will hold 39 hearings this week. Nearly all will be conducted in person, which hasn’t happened in three years.

Detonators seized from Jeffrey Carlton's vehicle in Everett in May. (U.S. Attorney's Office)
Man caught with illegal explosives in Everett sentenced to time served

Jeffrey Carlton has had a lifelong interest in explosives. He pleaded guilty to unlawfully owning them.

Most Read