Whidbey News-Times


Oak Harbor City Council approves marijuana moratorium

By JANIS REID Whidbey News-Times Staff reporter
September 11, 2013 · Updated 9:20 AM

The Oak Harbor City Council passed a six-month moratorium on the opening of both recreational and medical marijuana businesses.

Neither measure affects existing medical marijuana dispensaries.

Development Services Director Steve Powers recommended the six-month moratorium on both medical and recreational ventures to give city planners time to study the issue.

Powers noted that the state Liquor Control Board is still developing regulations, which are expected to be released by mid-October.

At the end of the six months, the council has the option of extending the moratorium for another six months.

While saying she understands the need to place a moratorium on recreational marijuana, Councilwoman Tara Hizon questioned the need to halt future medical marijuana operations since it has been legal in this state for some time.

Powers said that a lot of local municipalities “chose to wait and see what would happen with I-502,” the recreational marijuana initiative that was approved by voters, and then address the two similar issues together.

The law created by I-502 comes with many restrictions, including the requirement that marijuana-related businesses be no closer than 1,000 feet from schools, playgrounds, parks, child care facilities, transit stations, libraries and arcades.

Other than these requirements, the law leaves zoning and land use decisions up to local jurisdictions.

Councilman Bob Severns asked when staff would map permimeter regulations.

Powers said that would be “step one” for the staff because it will inform the council’s decisions on land use and regulation.


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