marijuanaA revision to the way buffer zones for marijuana-related businesses are measured could shrink the number of places where stores can locate.

The size of the buffer has not changed – rules proposed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board still require 1,000 feet between a marijuana business and a school, playground or park, recreation center, child-care center or library – but the distance will now be measured as the crow flies, not by the most direct route via streets or sidewalks.

The Liquor Board will change the draft rules next month to comply with an agreement between state government officials and the U.S. Department of Justice to use the federal method for measurement – the shortest distance between two points.

Winthrop town planner Rocklynn Culp had already drawn a preliminary map for the town based on the old restrictions, which left only two or three parcels that could legally accommodate a marijuana store, and the change could further limit potential sites. The Twisp planning commission has not yet discussed the prospect for marijuana retailers in town.

The Liquor Board is accepting comments on the proposed rules through Oct. 9 at rules@liq.wa.gov. They are scheduled to adopt the rules on Oct. 16. The rules and other information are available at liq.wa.gov/marijuana/I-502.