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Mukilteo may renew temporary pot law

Mukilteo is considering renewing a temporary law that allows collective medical marijuana gardens.

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By Bill Sheets
Herald Writer
Published:
MUKILTEO -- The city's unusual temporary law allowing collective medical marijuana gardens could be renewed for six months Tuesday.
The public will have a chance to speak on the issue at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 11930 Cyrus Way.
A new state law allows qualified patients to create community gardens for growing medicinal marijuana. Many cities in Snohomish County have slapped temporary bans on the gardens. Other local governments such as Snohomish County and the city of Everett have simply stayed silent on the issue, deferring to state law.
"There are very few cities in King, Snohomish or Kitsap counties that have adopted codes," Mukilteo planning director Heather McCartney said.
Mukilteo's ordinance, first approved in July, allows the gardens in areas zoned for light industry. They may not be within 1,000 feet of a school, park, daycare operation or community center such as the YMCA or Boys & Girls Club.
Under state law, up to 10 patients can create a collective garden and harvest up to 45 plants and 4.5 pounds of usable cannabis. Dispensaries remain illegal in the state.
Mukilteo's law is still something of an experiment, McCartney said, which is why it's being kept temporary. It will be revisited in July. This also will enable the city to respond if the Legislature should change the law, she said.
The one change proposed in Mukilteo's ordinance from the version approved in July increases the required distance between gardens from 500 feet to 750 feet, McCartney said.
The light-industrial zone is centered around the Harbor Pointe commercial district, extending west of the Mukilteo Speedway and north of Chennault Beach Road, bordered by Harbour Reach Drive to the west and Beverly Park Road to the south.
The zone is the same one in which an adult entertainment business would be allowed in Mukilteo, McCartney said, though no such establishments exist.
Mukilteo officials are aware of two indoor cooperative gardens currently operating in the city. They exist outside the specified zone, one in an industrial park and another in a strip mall, McCartney said. They've been grandfathered in and will not have to close down, she said.
City Councilwoman Jennifer Gregerson said there have been no known problems with the operations.
"They're discreet and they're providing a service to medicinal cannabis patients," she said.
The ordinance will be enforced on a complaint-only basis, McCartney said.
The city has created a special permit for the operations called a safety license. It will regulate aspects of the operations such as electrical systems, venting and odors.
Neighbors are asked to call the police if there's a problem. "They'll bring us (the city planning department) in if it's something within our jurisdiction," McCartney said.
Gregerson said she heard opinions on both sides during her successful fall re-election campaign.
Some were not happy the gardens were being permitted, "but I also heard from a number of patients that were glad there was a possibility for them so they didn't have to drive a lot farther," she said.
"I think it's important to allow possibilities for patients in our community that are using medicinal marijuana."

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.
Mukilteo's regulation
For the complete text of Mukilteo's medical marijuana regulation, go to http://tinyurl.com/MukilteoPot.
Story tags » MukilteoHealth treatment

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