Marijuana Businesses

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Marijuana Business in Tacoma

The growing, processing, researching, selling or delivery of marijuana is subject to state, federal, and city regulations. This document is intended to explain what type of regulations are likely to apply to marijuana-related businesses in the City of Tacoma. The City does not provide any guidance on state and federal regulations so it is highly encouraged that businesses proposing to engage in these activities consult a professional for guidance prior to obtaining permits.

When is a building permit required?

Building Permits are required for existing buildings in which any of the following will be changed or altered:

  • Use or occupancy of the building/property;
  • Interior or exterior alterations to the building;
  • Doors, windows, flooring, or walls;
  • Plumbing, drains, electrical wiring or plugs;
  • Mechanical systems, fans, or ventilation;
  • Siding, roof work, paving/gravel, parking restriping; or
  • Implementation of an extraction process.

Zoning (Use and Location)

Recreational marijuana is categorized into three uses:

  • Production – The growing and harvesting of marijuana
  • Processing – Packaging marijuana and creation of marijuana infused products
  • Retail – Sale of marijuana products to the general public

Certain locations within the City allow these uses, subject to City zoning requirements and 1,000 foot separation requirements from the following uses:

  • Elementary Schools & Secondary Schools
  • Playgrounds
  • Public Parks (500 feet for retail in downtown)
  • Recreation/Community centers & Libraries (500 feet for retail in downtown)
  • Child Care Centers (500 feet for retail in downtown)
  • Game Arcades (500 feet for retail in downtown)
  • Correctional Facilities & Court Houses (500 feet for retail in downtown)
  • Drug Rehabilitation Facilities, Substance Abuse Facilities, & Detoxification Centers (500 feet for retail in downtown)
  • Public Transit Centers (100 feet for retail uses only)

A general map indicating where approved recreational marijuana locations are within the City may be found at

To verify a specific address, call a City Planner at (253) 591-5030 (select “commercial” project on the phone system) or email at

The City does not provide guidance on State and Federal regulations.

What approvals are necessary?

How do I get started?

  1. Review the site location.
  2. Contact WSLCB, PSCAA, and TPCHD and determine what other approvals are necessary.
  3. Review Building Code requirements (referenced on the next page).
  4. Prepare a floor plan and site plan.
  5. Think about any necessary utility service, work, or upgrades that you will need to operate the business (i.e. power upgrade, electrical/lighting work, water service, fire sprinklers, gas connection).
  6. Prepare a Trip Generation Worksheet and Source Control worksheet available at
  7. Submit a Pre-Application Request online through the Tacoma Permits Portal (ACA).

Building Permit

The following items are reviewed in the building permit process:

Architectural Design

  • Occupancy Groups:
  • F-1* for growing, processing, and packaging (liveload of 125 psf)
  • S-1* for storage of supplies and finished product (liveload of 125 psf)
  • B for office

*If a change of use or occupancy is being proposed and the building includes a fire area exceeding 12,000 square feet, fire sprinklers are required for F-1 and S-1 occupancies. (See IEBC 1012.2, IBC 903.2.4, and 903.2.9)

  • Floor plans should include all walls, plastic covering (if permitted), and fixtures.

Plastic Sheeting must have:

  • A flame spread index of less than 200, and
  • A smoke developed index of less than 450 (UL 723 Class C or better).
  • All other requirements apply such as fire separations, exiting, ADA accessibility, and plumbing facilities.

Processing Methods and Hazardous Materials

  • A step-by-step narrative of all processing methods — Specifications of the processing equipment should be included.
  • A Hazardous Materials Inventory Statement (HMIS) (See IFC 5001.5.2)
  • Specifications of carbon dioxide enrichment equipment

Structural Design

  • A seismic evaluation and upgrade could be required with change of occupancy.

Anchorage will need to be considered for lateral loading.

  • Substantial frames/supports are required for lighting.
  • Storage rack design will need to be detailed.

Show the height from the floor to the top of the storage materials.


  • Show all proposed plumbing fixtures (i.e. number and type) with riser diagram.
  • Provide details regarding groundwork, side sewer, and source control.
  • Review Source Control Plan



  • Heating is required for occupied spaces
    (See IBC 1204.1)

Ventilation details, including location of ventilation shafts and output – 0.06 CFM/SF (Cooling Air Flow per Square Foot) is required for warehouses.

Energy Code Requirements.

Grow lighting is exempt from Washington State Energy Code Requirements.


  • Insulation envelope must meet requirements for heated spaces (See WSEC C402).
  • Show proposed lighting on energy form and add a note “grow lighting – exempt”. (See WSEC C405.5.1 Exception #6)

ADA Accessibility

  • ADA Parking, accessible route of travel to the primary use/work areas, restrooms


  • 2015 International Building Code (IBC)
  • 2015 International Existing Building Code (IEBC)
  • 2015 International Fire Code (IFC)
  • 2009 ICC A117.1-09 – Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities
  • 2015 International Mechanical Code (IMC)
  • 2015 International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC)
  • 2015 Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC)
  • 2015 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC)
  • Tacoma Municipal Code: Title 2 – Buildings
  • Tacoma Municipal Code: Title 13 – Land Use
  • Resource Library
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