Marysville imposes moratorium on marijuana dispensaries for six months

MARYSVILLE — Those looking to acquire medicinal marijuana in Marysville have a long wait ahead of them.

The Marysville City Council voted unanimously on July 11 to impose a six-month interim moratorium on any applications or activities by medicinal marijuana dispensaries or collective gardens within the city limits, after a public hearing at that same Council meeting which drew testimony from the owner of a collective garden in the Puget Sound region.

Marysville City Attorney Grant Weed explained that a bill adopted by the state Legislature, but partially vetoed by the governor, "leaves it uncertain" to what extent counties and cities can authorize the establishment of medicinal marijuana dispensaries or collective gardens. As such, the moratorium is intended to afford city staff and officials further time to study the regulations and determine what course of action would be appropriate with regard to issues such as zoning and licensing.

Lake Stevens resident Laura Healy was the only person to speak during the public hearing, and she invited the Council to ask her about the collective garden that she's operated for the past two years in Shoreline.

"I know other people would like to speak, but they're afraid," said Healy, who hopes to obtain a license for Marysville. "The average age of our clients is 45-50 years old. The majority of them don't smoke it. They use it as lotion for their arthritis, and as edibles to help them sleep. I understand the city wants to protect itself, but we have patients who will be forced to get it on the streets or go all the way to Seattle if they can't get it locally."

Healy compared medicinal marijuana dispensaries to food banks, in that they allow clients to obtain what they need without making an extra trip, and presented them as a way of ensuring that law enforcement would know exactly where the marijuana was going, "from seed to cell."

"We want to pay our taxes and be part of society," Healy said. "This might only be six months, but it's six months out of somebody's life. People are petrified to not know where they'll be getting their medicine from."

Council members Jeff Seibert and Carmen Rasmussen both thanked Healy for taking the time to speak to them, with Rasmussen adding that she was interested in learning more about the day-to-day operations of Healy's collective garden, as well as the provisions that such an establishment utilizes to ensure proper oversight by law enforcement and to prevent juveniles from obtaining its products. Ultimate, though, both Council members expressed reservations about allowing such establishments within Marysville until the city had determined "the appropriate regulations" for them.

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