Pot planning | EDITORIAL
July 20, 2012 · Updated 2:34 PM
The City of Port Orchard Planning Commission’s recommendation to not issue business license to medicinal marijuana dispensaries and collective medical marijuana grows is short sighted, dimwitted and, perhaps, a little illegal.
The idea to not grant licenses based on a business’ ability to follow “federal law” is completely hokey and lacks specificity which in the end could be used to shutdown a larger group of non-marijuana based city licensed business that daily fail a cacophony of federal laws, such as every marina along the waterfront. Think EPA and the clean water act along with DEA and federal crime.
The “federal law” clause the city would invoke for its baseline in issuing business permits would not necessarily affect collective gardens within city limits because gardens are not necessarily a business, nor are they required to be by law.
The argument that the city of Port Orchard cannot supersede the federal government is dim and built for public consumption by certain people. It is equally true that the city cannot override state law –– tricky legal ground itself. The most recent incarnation of state medical marijuana law protects those following the state medical marijuana law from state prosecution. City and county prosecutors and courts draw their jurisdiction from the state and therefore cannot prosecute a person, or group of people, that strictly adhere to the law. Under current state law, collective growing operations are legal and well defined in their existence and operation. Dispensaries remain the great area target for marijuana entrepreneurs and police agencies.
The right way to deal with the issue is to address dispensaries and collective growing operations through zoning laws. Take the time. Do the work that serves the entire community.
The commission’s recommendation also shows that they wasted two six-month moratoriums by not doing any work on the matter – a simple delay tactic. The simpleton move to block legitimate distribution in the city fails to support the mores of a 21st century population in favor of a time that no longer exists outside the minds of a few who believe they are leading the city in the right direction – backward.
City councilmember John Clauson favors blocking the growing and dispensing facilities, rather than doing the work to zone them into a proper existence so that they may serve those with medical needs. Hypocrisy aside, the current direction could land the city in court for discrimination under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.