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City Council votes to prohibit collective marijuana gardens
MARYSVILLE — After imposing a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens in 2011 that’s been renewed repeatedly since, the Marysville City Council voted unanimously on June 24 to prohibit collective marijuana gardens and dispensaries within the city of Marysville.
Gloria Hirashima, chief administrative officer and community development director for the city of Marysville, agreed that the Council needed to make a more permanent decision, but acknowledged that this is by no means the final word on this subject.
“Because of how the marijuana issue has pitted federal laws against state laws, with the state assuming that this is legal and the federal government still assuming that it’s not, the city was uncertain of how to proceed and extended the moratorium in the hopes that further clarification would emerge in the meantime,” Hirashima said. “Since that hasn’t happened, we needed to make a decision based on the knowledge that we currently have.”
Hirashima explained that the cities of Marysville, Arlington and Lake Stevens have worked together to ensure that their standards will be consistent, “so that we’re not just moving the problem around,” and cited the cities of Yakima, Woodinville and Kent as among those that they used as examples of how to address such an issue.
Arlington also imposed a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens in 2011 and has renewed it repeatedly since. Although the Arlington City Council discussed prohibiting collective marijuana gardens and dispensaries within the city on June 24, they still need to hold a public hearing on the issue before they can vote on it.
Hirashima clarified that the city of Marysville’s prohibition applies only to medical marijuana collective gardens, rather than individual marijuana users.
“The state says it’s legal for individuals to use it, so we’re not going to preclude their rights,” Hirashima said. “Our concern is with larger collective marijuana gardens and dispensaries setting up shop in Marysville.”
Hirashima echoed Arlington Police Chief Nelson Beazley’s expressed concerns that such collective gardens could attract crime to their cities. Although the city of Kent’s prohibition on collective gardens has been appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court, Hirashima noted that it was upheld in the King County Superior Court.
In the meantime, the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s July 3 approval of proposed rules for retailing recreational marijuana — as detailed online at www.liq.wa.gov/marijuana/I-502 — marks the next big decision that Hirashima has said that “everyone was waiting to see.” Public hearings on the proposed rules are set for Aug. 6-8, in time for the rules to be adopted Aug. 14 and become effective Sept. 16.