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Lake Stevens, Marysville put moratorium on medical marijuana gardens

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By Amy Daybert
Herald Writer
Two more cities have banned collective gardens for medical marijuana for now.
The Lake Stevens and Marysville city councils unanimously adopted six-month moratoriums on the gardens on Monday. Snohomish did the same last week. And Mukilteo is looking at doing the same next week.
"With the new legislation that's going into effect we need to be prepared because we don't currently have land use ordinances on the books to deal with (medical marijuana)," said Lake Stevens city administrator Jan Berg. "We need time to look at the issue."
Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed large sections of a bill in the spring that would have expanded the state's medical marijuana law. A portion that would have legalized medical marijuana dispensaries was vetoed while part of the bill that allows for collective gardens was left in.
Under the new law, up to 10 qualifying patients can grow 45 plants at a collective garden. The law allows cities to license, zone and impose health and safety requirements on collective gardens within their jurisdiction.
Cities, under state law, can choose to impose a moratorium for up to six months on land use matters while new regulations are considered. If city officials do not need the full time period, the moratorium can be removed before the six months are up, said Grant Weed, Marysville's city attorney.
Language in both city ordinances passed Monday also established a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries even though the new law does not make them legal. Mention of the dispensaries was kept in the ordinances to enforce the fact that they are not allowed, Weed said.
"Because the law got vetoed in part by the governor it is, in some respect, confusing," he said. "We didn't want to leave any doubt at the local level about dispensaries so we included it."
A voter initiative in 1998 legalized medical marijuana in the state. Lake Stevens resident Laura Healy told the Marysville City Council she operates a medical marijuana cooperative in Shoreline and attended the city's public hearing on the matter to answer questions.
"You won't get a lot of people up here publicly speaking. They're afraid to come out," she said. "I understand that you want to protect the city but while you're trying to protect the city there's patients that are having to go out onto the streets to find (medical marijuana)."
Many of the people she knows want regulations but still want to have an accessible place to get medical marijuana, she added.
Marysville Councilwoman Carmen Rasmussen said the city needs time to establish regulations for collective gardens.
"We're nowhere near a place right now where we would feel comfortable having appropriate regulations and definitely need at least six months to examine the issue," she said. "I support the moratorium but I am interested in having further information about how the state and other cities and counties are proposing that this even work."
Lake Stevens City Council is planning to hold a public hearing on Aug. 22 about the moratorium. The Mukilteo City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing about the issue Monday.
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491;
Story tags » Lake StevensMarysvilleHealth treatmentMedicines

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