Chuck "Caveman" Coker via Creative Commons
The fallout from SB 5073 continues as Washington cities big and small on both sides of the mountains grapple


Medical-Pot News Roundup: Tacoma, Mukilteo, Ellensburg, and Wapato Enact Dispensary Moratoriums, Embrace Collective Gardens

Chuck "Caveman" Coker via Creative Commons
The fallout from SB 5073 continues as Washington cities big and small on both sides of the mountains grapple with the best way to regulate medical marijuana. Under the new state law, dispensaries are quickly going the way of the buffalo while "collective gardens" are sprouting up like, um, weeds.

Here are a few of the latest happenings:

  • As anticipated, Tacoma enacted a six-month moratorium on all new medical-pot dispensaries. With a unanimous 7-0 vote yesterday, the city council opted to enact the ban immediately. The measure also expressly prohibits collective gardens, whether they are affiliated with a storefront business or not. (Nearby Kent and Federal Way also recently banned dispensaries and collective gardens.)
  • Existing Tacoma dispensaries, of which there are more than 30, can remain open for the time being, but the city is still in the process of shutting down at least 14 of the establishments. According to the Tacoma News Tribune, the city is in the process of drafting new zoning rules for pot-centric establishments, "with an eye toward the locations of schools, day cares, parks, churches and other facilities."

  • With a 5-2 vote on Monday night, the Mukilteo city council approved an ordinance that allows collective gardens to operate within the confines of the suburb. The measure makes Mukilteo the first Snohomish County city to embrace medical pot, with Everett, Lake Stevens, and Marysville all recently outlawing both collective gardens and dispensaries. As reported by Toke of the Town, the Mukilteo collectives will be required to set up shop in "light industrial zones," and must be 500 feet away from schools, day-care facilities, houses, apartment buildings, and each other. The zoning requirements essentially restrict the collectives from growing only on a strip along State Route 525.
  • Ellensburg, home to Central Washington University, opted Monday to permit collective gardens and impose a six-month moratorium on dispensaries. According to the Ellensburg Daily Record, a $25 permit will be required to form a collective garden, and the grow-ops "must be indoors and not visible from a public place," with "a 300-foot buffer zone" between schools and "youth-oriented facilities." The Central Washington University campus is not covered by the new ordinance, and the school must establish its own medical-pot rules.
  • Continuing southeast of Ellensburg into orchard country, the tiny rural town of Wapato is considering a six-month moratorium on marijuana dispensaries. Yakima imposed its own moratorium, and Wapato--which might not even have a dispensary--is set to follow in the footsteps of its much-larger neighbor. The Wapato city council could vote on the moratorium at its next meeting on August 15, the Yakima Herald-Republic reports.

No idea what a collective garden entails? Under the new state law, up to 10 patients can create cultivate up to 45 plants, harvesting up to 4.5 pounds of usable cannabis. For more on how it works, check out our post last month, "Seattle's Marijuana-Garden Ordinance: The New Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

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