A medical marijuana dispensaries moratorium ordinance was adopted by the City Council at their April 4 meeting, as a precaution in case the Washington State Legislature decides to adopt a bill allowing such dispensaries.
The ordinance takes effect immediately. It sets a public hearing for May 16 at which time the Council would consider whether to continue the moratorium for the remainder of a six-month period or let it expire. Before the end of the period, the Council may renew the moratorium if additional time is needed to address issues.
The use of medical marijuana under limited conditions is allowed in Washington State, based on an initiative that was approved by voters statewide. The law does not provide for marijuana dispensaries.
Legislation has been proposed that would clarify state law and allow medical marijuana dispensaries. One such bill (E2SSB 5073) has passed the Senate and is under consideration by the House of Representatives.
The Seattel PI has more:
Washington is one of 15 states where pot use for medical purposes is legal; Voters here overwhelmingly approved an initiative in 1998.
Senate Bill 5073, which passed 54-43, establishes regulations for the medical marijuana business – and seeks to establish criminal liability protection for patients, doctors and providers. Seattle’s mayor, City Councilmembers and City Attorney have lobbied for the measure’s passage.
The Senate and House will now try to reconcile the different versions of this bill that have passed the respective chambers. Gov. Chris Gregoire has expressed concerns about the legislation.
The city’s municipal code prohibits the possession of marijuana. If a bill to authorize new methods of dispensing is adopted, the city may need to re-think its process for considering dispensaries. In that case, the Planning Commission would consider and recommend any amendments to the Zoning Code. The City Council would make a final decision. The Council may also consider amending other parts of the municipal code.
What do you think of the Council’s move?
Photo courtesy Troy Holden.