Marijuana Facilities: Regulations & Permit Process

Current Regulations in Whatcom County


Marijuana has been legal for recreational use in Washington State since the passage of Initiative 502 in 2012. Marijuana production, processing and retail facilities must obtain licenses from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) and obtain land use approval and building permits from the local jurisdiction they wish to locate in.

Whatcom County adopted Ordinance 2015-006  (3/31/2015) regarding the production, processing and retailing of marijuana replacing interim Ordinance 2015-053 (10/14/14).


Whatcom County Ordinance--Allowed Marijuana Zone Districts and Uses

ZONE
Marijuana 
Production
Marijuana 
Processing
Marijuana Retail
Rural (R)   Administrative Use*  Administrative Use* Not Allowed
 Agriculture (AG)  Permitted Use*
(An administrative use permit is required if the facility is located within 300 feet of a  residence and a setback waiver is obtained.)
 Accessory Use*
(An administrative use permit is required if the facility is located within 300 feet of  a residence and a setback waiver is obtained.)

 Not Allowed
 Rural Forestry (RF) Permitted Use*
(An administrative use permit is required  if the facility is located within 300 feet of a residence and a setback waiver is obtained.)
 Permitted Use*
(An administrative use permit is required  if the facility is located within 300 feet of a residence and a setback waiver is obtained.)

 Not Allowed
 Rural General
 Commercial (RGC)
 Not Allowed Not Allowed  Permitted Use
Neighborhood Commercial
Center (NC)
 Not Allowed Not Allowed Permitted Use
Small Town Commercial
Center (STC)
 Not Allowed Not Allowed Permitted Use
General Commercial (GC)
 Not Allowed Not Allowed Permitted Use
Light Impact Industrial (LII)  Permitted Use Permitted Use Not Allowed
Heavy Impact Industrial (HII)  Permitted Use Permitted Use Not Allowed
Rural Industrial Manufacturing (RIM)  Permitted Use Permitted Use Not Allowed
Marijuana Standards applicable for all zone districts:
  • Marijuana production and processing prohibited in the Watershed Resource Protection Overlay District (i.e. Lake Whatcom, Lake Samish and Lake Padden).
  • Odor control measures required for all zone districts which allow for marijuana production and/or processing. The exhaust system to control odor shall be designed by a licensed Washington State Professional Engineer.
  • A valid Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board License is required for all recreational marijuana type uses.
  • Marijuana uses prohibited in those zone districts that are not specifically stated above.
*Additional Marijuana Standards applicable to only the Rural, Agriculture and Rural Forestry zone districts:
  • The facility shall not be located within 1,000 feet of a community center. The distance shall be measured as the shortest straight line distance from the property line of the proposed building/business location to the property line of the community center.
  • The facility shall not be located within 300 feet of any existing residential unit not located on the same parcel as the facility.  The distance shall be measured as the shortest straight line distance from the closest point of a single family dwelling (structure) to any structure or fence used for the production of marijuana. A waiver to the setback may be obtained.
  • Use subject to traffic, lighting, parking, number of employees and landscape (buffer) standards.
  • In the Rural zone district and lots less than 4.5 acres, the facility shall not exceed a total of 2,000 square feet in size, except when located in an existing building.

Resource Links

Helpful Information related to Marijuana regulations in Washington State