Marijuana dispensary eyes Bay St. location

The city of Port Orchard received a certificate of occupancy permit application on March 1 from Greenthumb Medical, which proposes to operate a medical marijuana dispensary on Bay Street despite a just-enacted six-month moratorium on such facilities.

The owners propose to “specialize in authorizations for medical marijuana,” according to the project description.

“They took over the lease last month,” said the building’s owner, who did not wish to be named. “I don’t know if they are in business as of now, or if they’re in the process of waiting.”

The permit application for the dispensary lists its location as 944 Bay Street, Suite 200, on the upper level.
“They got connected to me through a realtor,” said the owner. “I’ve asked around to my friends, and they say it’s something that’s common now because of some legislation not too long ago.”

Port Orchard’s city council voted on Feb. 22 to adopt an emergency moratorium on applications for building and land-use permits for marijuana businesses and dispensaries in the city.

“This is to maintain the status quo while we look at alternatives,” said Greg Jacoby, the city’s attorney. “This gives you options as we see what develops in Olympia and elsewhere.”

The legality of medical marijuana dispensaries is unclear under Washington state’s current laws, so some municipalities have deemed them to be legal while others have not.

“It says that, if you are going to have a dispensary, you can provide marijuana to one person at a time,” said Jacoby at a work-study session on Feb. 15.

Different areas have interpreted the phrase “one person at a time” to mean different things, but state lawmakers are considering a law to legalize the dispensaries under certain conditions.

“The Senate bill would create a licensing system for people that produce process and dispense marijuana,” said Jacoby. “It would allow dispensaries, but they would have to be nonprofit, and there would be a whole registration process with the Department of Health.

“It seems to have support from officials in both Seattle and Tacoma,” he said. “I have no idea if it’s likely to pass.”

But regardless of whether or not it passes, marijuana dispensaries are officially on hold in Port Orchard.

“The moratorium doesn’t allow us to process any permits, applications or licenses that have medical marijuana listed on them,” said James Weaver, the city’s development director. “Green Thumb did, so we sent them a letter saying that the dispensary is on hold.”

A public hearing about the moritorium is scheduled for March 22 at 7 p.m. at Port Orchard’s City Hall.

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