• New distance requirements for marijuana businesses in Washington
  • A proposed bill could shield children from marijuana
  • Lawmakers aim to keep dispensaries away from places frequented by children

Madeline Coats

By Madeline Coats

WNPA Olympia News Bureau

OLYMPIA — Jan. 15, 2019 – The House Committee on Commerce and Gaming took up a bill that would include preschools and school bus stops within the buffer requirements of state-licensed marijuana businesses.

House Bill 1003, introduced by Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, would further restrict marijuana businesses from operating in areas frequently visited by children.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board is barred from issuing a marijuana license to any business within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center, child care center, public park, public transit center or library.

This bill would also prohibit the board from issuing or renewing a license for any locations within 1,000 feet of any preschool or bus stop.

Seth Dawson testified in general support of the legislation on behalf of the Washington Association for Substance Abuse.

The negative effect of marijuana on youth brain development and his desire for children to be protected from advertising near bus stops and institutions prompted the bill.

“I have six schools that I am responsible for and kids are a passion of mine,” Klippert said during the hearing. “Protecting them is my life’s goal.”

Klippert is a law enforcement officer and also serves as a school resource officer. He has taught kids about the dangerous effects of marijuana for many years.

Klippert filed HB 1003 on behalf of one of his constituents.

He explained times he walked into homes and found parents legally smoking marijuana while they still had children in diapers. Klippert ended the testimony by telling the story of a boy who smoked marijuana before school, at lunch and after school. Stopping improved the adolescent’s grades and life substantially, he said.

The location of pot shops close to bus stops has been a hot-button issue in Klippert’s district for a couple years.

According to the bill, this act is necessary for the health and safety of public institutions.

The bill contains an emergency clause and would take effect immediately if signed into law.