Island County to hold hearing on pot

With little discussion, Island County commissioners set a date for the public hearing on a proposed  moratorium on new marijuana production and sales.

The commissioners will hear public comment at 10:15 a.m. Monday, Nov. 4, in the commissioners’ hearing room at the county courthouse.

The county is following the lead of the Oak Harbor City Council, which adopted a six-month moratorium on new marijuana production and sales on both recreational and medical marijuana last month.

The move to control the industry is in response to the passage of Washington State law Initiative 502, which allows for the production, sale and use of recreational marijuana.

While the commissioners agreed last month to inform the state of their plans for a moratorium, they have yet to review draft moratoriums or talk about specific regulatory options.

While the details of the law are still being hammered out, the state Liquor Control Board announced plans to roll out specific procedures and criteria by Dec. 1 2013, according to the resolution to adopt the moratorium.

A six-month moratorium would allow the county to keep new marijuana companies on hold until county staff are able to review state guidelines a draft regulations.

The state Liquor Control Board will be giving “substantial weight” to local jurisdictions on the issuance or denial of business applications. The county will also be able to submit objections based on “chronic illegal activity” that may result in a new or existing operation.

In keeping with the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington documents, based on population, new recreational businesses will likely be limited to three in Island County and one within Oak Harbor’s jurisdiction.

To ensure consistency island-wide, Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson has stated she would be in favor of keeping marijuana regulations consistent with that of Oak Harbor.


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