On this sunny spring day, the air around Pike Place Market is filled with the sounds of street musicians playing Bob Marley and the smells of marijuana half a block away at Steinbrueck Park.
“There’s just so many drugs that go on around here,” said musician Gary Reid.
Yet this is one of the areas that would be banned from having a place to legally buy marijuana under a proposed city ordinance.
“Now that it’s legal, a lot of people are acting like it’s still illegal,” said Jameson McDougall, wearing a “cannabis” t-shirt while visiting from Ellensburg.
Tourist areas, residential neighborhoods, the waterfront and historic districts are among the areas where pot shops would be outlawed. It’s a move to stave off problems with public partying. Some, however, think legal stores at the Market might quell the drug dealing problem.
“I think it would clean the area up because those people would not get the business and move elsewhere,” said Arianna Stewart, who works at a bakery near the world’s first Starbucks.
At city hall on Wednesday, another issue is whether Seattle is allowing enough space for growers to meet the high demand. Some are asking the city to expand the square footage for pot producers from 10,000 square feet to 50,000 in the Seattle’s SoDo area.
Pot lobbyist Philip Dawdy told council members, “If the city doesn’t want to go there, I can assure you there are projects that will not happen in Seattle and they’d be saying goodbye to 200 to 400 jobs.”
Back at the Market, some believe a legal pot shop would be good for business, keeping tourists happy, and hungry.
“People look at those and have to have one,” said Arianna Stewart, pointing to giant cookies stacked up like flapjacks at her Cinnamon Works bakery. “So, imagine if they smoke and then they see that. It’s like 20 times more intense.
The full council is expected to vote on the ordinance May 23.