Arlington, Marysville extend marijuana moratoriums

The months of June and July saw the city councils of both Marysville and Arlington vote unanimously to extend their existing moratoriums on the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries and collective gardens within their respective city limits, as representatives of both city governments called for further clarifications from the state and federal governments on this issue.

While the Marysville City Council voted on June 11 to extend its moratorium until July 5 of next year, the Arlington City Council voted on July 2 to extend its own moratorium until Feb. 15 of next year. In both cases, however, city officials confirmed that Marysville and Arlington have been working together to try and arrive at regulations governing the zoning and permitting of medical marijuana dispensaries and collective gardens that would be appropriate for both cities.

“There continue to be uncertainties about where state and federal laws stand on this issue,” said Gloria Hirashima, community development director for the city of Marysville. “There have been a few different measures to try and clarify this, including an initiative that’s on the state ballot for this November.”

City of Arlington Community Development Director David Kuhl agreed with Hirashima that their cities would consider the appropriate minimum distances that such facilities should be located from schools, day cares, youth centers and churches, but added that this task is complicated by the lack of data on the subject.

“There really aren’t any studies to show what minimum distances are needed,” Kuhl said. “Not a lot of research has gone into this subject.”

To that end, Kuhl explained that the city of Arlington is considering zoning areas that are currently light industrial to accommodate such dispensaries and collective gardens, given the lack of other traffic in those areas.

Like Kuhl, Hirashima believes a uniformity of regulations between Marysville and Arlington would lead to fewer legal complications, especially since both cities utilize the Marysville Municipal Court.

“If we’re using the same court but have different regulations, it could get confusing very easily,” said Kuhl, who noted that the city of Lake Stevens has also been part of the discussions on this issue between the cities of Marysville and Arlington.

“We don’t want people playing one city against the other,” Hirashima said. “We’re also very cognizant of the fact that, if we do allow this, then as has happened in Mukilteo, these sorts of businesses will relocate to our city.”

Even if the city of Marysville has no objections to the presence of such businesses, Hirashima believes that the city owes it to those businesses not to invite them in unless they know that they won’t have to ask them to leave later on.

“Once we open ourselves up to them, they’re going to be making business decisions about whether to settle here,” Hirashima said. “If clarifications of state or federal laws require us to tell them a few months later that they’re no longer welcome, we’ll have robbed them of the certainty that any business is entitled to, and it’s likely that their customers would rally to support them, so we’d rather be cautious in our approach now.”


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