Ordinance to allow marijuana production but not storefronts
SNOHOMISH - The City Council made some clarifying decisions about the future of medical marijuana regulation in the city, which will go into shaping an ordinance that could be ready for council approval next month.
The council voted 3-2 to allow the production of medical marijuana but disallows the sale of marijuana from storefronts or dispensaries.
Council members Dean Randall, Lynn Schilaty and Paul Kaftanski voted in favor of the motion, while Mayor Karen Guzak and Councilman Derrick Burke voted against it.
Councilmen Greg Guedel and Tom Hamilton abstained from voting.
City Manager Larry Bauman acknowledged that allowing the production of marijuana without a means to access it may be unusual.
“We’ve never seen where collective gardens have been installed without a dispensary or storefront,” Bauman said. “It’s going to be interesting to see if anyone makes use of this.”
The city is defining collective gardens as marijuana growing or processing operations for the benefit of a limited number of people and wants to regulate marijuana through nuisance enforcement rules rather than through traditional zoning rules. This allows the city to control where and how medical marijuana production may occur without having to issue a business license or permit for activities that are still illegal under federal law.
City planner Owen Dennison will incorporate the council’s feedback into the draft nuisance ordinance before bringing it back for a final review.
Police Chief John Flood said there seems to be some confusion about the topic and that the council is in support of making sure it’s available to patients when they need it.
“They’re fine with the growing of it, but they’re not okay with having like a 7-Eleven for it,” Flood said.
“The public’s understanding of what the city’s trying to do and what the city is actually trying to do may not line up,” Flood said. “As a city, we’re trying to identify the ability to have it available here in town and what that might look like. We don’t want to say it is or is not allowed in our community, but we want to say that if it did come into our community, what kind of restrictions or permission we would have identified with it.”
At the council’s direction, collective gardens will only be allowed in industrial or business park zones. These zones are located mainly north of downtown along the Avenue D-Bickford Avenue corridor.
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