Planning Effectively for Legalized Recreational Marijuana: An Assessment of Community Land Use Ordinances in Washington State
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In November of 2012 the citizens of Washington State voted to legalize the cultivation, processing, sale, and use of recreational marijuana. As legalization unfolds, the experiences of local governments will inform the development and implementation of effective land use regulatory mechanisms. The study population for this research was all 23 jurisdictions within the five most populated counties that had adopted interim or permanent recreational marijuana land use ordinances. Content analysis methodology was used to explore how counties and municipalities were addressing legalization. Local land use ordinances were evaluated using six indicator categories derived from the literature on other controversial land uses: Fact Base, Goals, Definitions, Locational Control Policies, Operational Control Policies, and Other. With no past experience and facing an uncertain legal environment, wide differences existed in how these local governments have approached recreational marijuana legalization. By documenting their pioneering work, this research will assist future planners and policy makers to develop effective mechanisms for regulating the emerging legal recreational marijuana economy in their communities.
- Urban planning