MLT City Council votes to extend city’s moratorium on medical marijuana collectives

By Doug Petrowski

By a 5-0 vote, the Mountlake Terrace City Council Monday night renewed the city’s current moratorium on all medical marijuana collective activities, including collective gardens. The moratorium extends until Jan. 8, 2013 the prohibition on medical marijuana activities in Mountlake Terrace while city officials study how it may implement regulations in the future. Officials will also review how current litigation around the state and this fall’s Initiative 502 marijuana reform ballot measure may affect the issue.

City officials want more time “with the sincere intent and continuing work to find a solution, whatever it is, that would be supportable for the community and not create undo risk,” said Shane Hope, Director of Community and Economic Development.

“I believe we still need to gather facts for this,” Mayor Pro Tem Laura Sonmore said just before the vote on the moratorium.

Mountlake Terrace joins other cities in the state that currently have a moratorium on medical marijuana activities and collective gardens, including Redmond and Snohomish. Other cities have moved on allowing some storefront co-ops and/or collective gardens for the growing and/or distribution of medical marijuana, as allowed within restrictions under state law. Federal drug law does not allow the production, distribution or possession of any marijuana.

The City of Mountlake Terrace has had a moratorium on medical marijuana regulations since just before Gov. Christine Gregoire vetoed portions of SB 5073 while allowing some aspects of the legislation to become law in April 2011. Current state law contains provisions for collective gardens but not for dispensaries.

The City of Mountlake Terrace has renewed its moratorium on medical marijuana activities three times.

A number of Washington state cities are currently facing litigation over their respective handling of the medical marijuana issue, including Seattle and Kent. State voters will find Initiative 502, the regulation of marijuana production, distribution and possession of limited amounts of marijuana, on this November’s general election ballot.

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