Council adopts interim land use for recreational marijuana

Like other cities and towns, the Port Orchard city council dealt with two items related to recreational marijuana during Tuesday night’s meeting.

After a brief public hearing on recreational marijuana land-use zoning, the council voted 6-0 to approve an ordinance to adopt interim land use regulations for the production, processing and retail sale of recreational marijuana and amending the city’s Municipal Code pertaining to definitions, property-specified designation and overlay districts, general land use requirements and adding a chapter for recreational marijuana.

Port Orchard is required by state law to accommodate possible locations for marijuana processors, producers and retailers, but the city can restrict where they can be located.

Planning Director Nick Bond said the ordinance means that the regulations will be in place for a six-month period.

“This will give the city time to see if further changes are required once the state Liquor Control Board’s rules are in place and state licenses have been issued,” Bond said.

He said the city needed to submit its proposal to the Department of Commerce for review and comment before adopting permanent changes to its development regulations.

During the ordinance, marijuana retails would not be permitted under the Downtown Overlay District zoning. Marijuana processing and production would be allowed in industrial areas, while marijuana retail stores would be allowed in commercial zones.

Recreational marijuana producers, processors and retail outlets cannot be within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, recreation centers, child care centers, public parks, public transit centers, libraries or game arcades.

During the public hearing, a Gig Harbor resident, who is looking to place a marijuana retail store, said he found that most of the proposed locations are “risky spots.”

He said is hard to find a place where a building owner will lease.

“You’re forcing people like me — a business owner — into a dangerous situation,” he said. “One of the biggest concerns for a retail location is regards to safety. We are getting stuck in places that are dangerous and out of the way.”

He said, according to statistics, marijuana shops are “robbed a lot.”

“I would like to have my business here because I grew up here,” he said. “This is an ideal spot for me.”

Bond said there is a quota of 10 for marijuana stores to be located in Kitsap County — two in Bremerton, one in Bainbridge Island and seven throughout the county.

“It possible we could get one, maybe two stores,” Bond said.

The council voted 5-1 to approve an ordinance amending minor changes to the city’s business license regulations in conjunction with the city’s proposed new interim recreational marijuana regulation passed early in the meeting. Councilman John Clauson cast the opposing vote.

The proposed changes distinguish between recreational and medical marijuana uses.

“A city business license will be issued for recreational marijuana uses that fully comply with state and local laws,” Bond said.

Bond said until the state adopts a regulatory scheme for medical marijuana that is approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, the city will continue to deny business licenses for medical marijuana use.

City Attorney Greg Jacoby said on Monday, Nov. 18, the state the Liquor Control Board will accept business license applications from individuals and businesses who want to operate recreation marijuana production, processing and retail sales.

He said the application period will be open for 30 days and then the board will take 2-4 months to review applications, then will start issuing licenses in March or April.

Jacoby said the board would notify the city where marijuana use is proposed and city officials will be allowed to provide comments.

Councilman Jerry Childs, who was ill, was not present during most of the meeting.


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