Commissioners cancel marijuana moratorium
With an ordinance being drafted to govern marijuana growing businesses, Wahkiakum County commissioners on Tuesday voted 2-1 to end their moratorium prohibiting those businesses.
Commissioner Blair Brady, who chaired a committee that developed the draft, said the ordinance was developed with input from law enforcement, the prosecuting attorney, citizens, and growers themselves.
State laws governing growing operations are very detailed, but the committee identified "major local areas of concern" and determined steps "required to address them to the extent permitted by law," the draft ordinance says.
If adopted, the ordinance would require 200-foot setbacks from any lot that contains a dwelling.
Video surveillance systems required by state law must have a copy of their recorded data on secure, off site media.
Marijuana processing, production and retail facilities may not be located within 1000 feet of any preexisiting school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transfer center, library, game arcade where admission is not restricted to persons age 21 or older, church with licensed day care center or any parcel containing a licensed marijuana retail outlet.
All growing will be indoors in secured facilities. The facilities must control odor and position lights to prevent glare on neighbors.
Violations would be infractions punishable by fines, not crimes.
Brady and Commissioner Mike Backman voted to lift the moratorium. Board Chair Dan Cothren, who has opposed legalization of marijuana use and production, voted against it.
"I think it's one of those unstoppable trains," Brady said.
Brady said he wanted the committee to continue to meet quarterly to be prepared to address changes in laws or the possible location of a retail outlet in the county.
The ordinance will be subject to a public hearing before formal adoption.