Council approves ordinance on recreational marijuana

With the passing of I-502 nearly 18 month ago, Port Orchard residents would see retail stores selling recreational marijuana along the Bethel Corridor, Sedgwich Road and on Mile Hill Drive.

The city council voted 6-1 to pass an ordinance amending the city development regulations concerning recreational marijuana use. The city’s interim regulations expired this month.

The ordinance, voted during the April 22 meeting, amended the city code with language on definition, property-specific designations in overlay districts, general land use requirements and added a new chapter on recreational marijuana.

In November 2012, state voters approved a measure to allow and regulate recreational marijuana by licensing and taxing producers, processors and retails of the cannabis. Washington and Colorado are the only states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.

The council voted in November adopted interim regulations and directed the Planning Commissioner to review the interim regulation and make a recommendation. They held at public hearing in January and recommended the city adopt the interim measures on a permanent basis.

The proposed ordinance was submitted to the Department of Commerce for a 60-day comment period.

The ordinance requires marijuana retailers, producers and processors be licensed by the state’s Liquor Control Board.

The ordinance states that recreational marijuana retailers, processors or producers may not locate within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, recreation facilities, child care center, public parks, public transit center and libraries.

Under the ordinance’s land-use regulations, marijuana processing and production will only be allowed in Employment Industrial and Office land zones. Retailers will be allowed in Commercial Retail and Office zones only.

Producers and processors will only be allowed in the Port Orchard Industrial Area off Old Clifton Road, while retails will be  allowed along Bethel and Sedgwich roads.

“The areas for retail stores are mostly along Bethel and Sedgwich — unless there is a park or daycare nearby — along with a small area on Mile Hill Drive near Saar’s Market Place,” Devolepment Director Nick Bond said.

Only two people — both residents — addressed the council during the public hearing on the ordinance. No potential retailers, processors or producers were at the meeting.

Nick Whittleton asked a question about the word “smoke” which was used in the new chapter added on recreational marijuana under a section on visibility of activities and control of emissions.

“That could lead someone to believe that as long as they do not allow smoke to leave the building it is okay to smoke at the marijuana facility,” Whittleton said. “I don’t think smoke should appear in verbiage that deals with this.”

City Attorney Greg Jacoby told Whittleton that “smoke” does not refer to smoking marijuana.

“That (smoking marijuana) is illegal under state law,” Jacoby added.

Councilman John Clauson voted against the ordinance.


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