Pubdate: Sat, 20 Feb 2016
Source: Herald, The (Everett, WA)
Copyright: 2016 The Daily Herald Co.
Author: Chris Winters


EVERETT - The Everett City Council has reopened debate on its 
marijuana ordinance and is sending it back to the city's planning 
commission for a second look.

After Initiative 502 legalized recreational pot businesses in 
Washington in late 2012, Everett passed a series of six month 
emergency ordinances to govern where retail shops were located while 
the city's staff and city council could study and debate the issue.

The city adopted its permanent ordinance in July 2015, but given the 
latest actions, "permanent" turned out to mean seven months.

The impetus behind the sudden change was the state Liquor and 
Cannabis Board's move to bring unregulated medical marijuana 
dispensaries under the same regulations as recreational pot. In the 
process, that would double the maximum number of retailers in each community.

The new rule meant Everett's cap of five retailers would grow to 10.

In January, Councilman Scott Bader requested the council pass an 
emergency moratorium to put the brakes on that potential outcome.

Four of the seven council members voted in favor, but that was one 
vote shy of the supermajority needed to enact the moratorium as an 
emergency measure.

Councilman Jeff Moore, who supported the moratorium, raised the issue 
again at the Feb. 10 council meeting, proposing the council ask the 
planning commission to review the existing ordinance and recommend 
changes, which might include a freeze on new developments..

By his count there are 14 medical and recreational pot shops along 
Highway 99 between 112th Street and 164th Street, just south of city limits.

Four shops now operate within city limits, with a fifth in the 
permitting stages.

The city's current ordinance mandates zones of separation between 
stores as well as areas considered sensitive, such as schools and day 
care centers. Under those rules, south Everett is the only part of 
town where an additional five shops would fit.

"It's not the image I want for south Everett," Moore said.

His proposal sparked a half-hour debate at the council meeting, in 
part because it didn't appear on the agenda for the evening.

Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher asked that the issue be placed on a 
future agenda in order to give the public adequate notice.

"I'm very uncomfortable taking any action on this without public 
notification," she said.

The item was subsequently included on the Feb. 17 agenda.

But when council president Scott Murphy called for public comment at 
the start of that meeting, no one rose to speak on the issue.

The planning commission will take up Moore's proposal at its regular 
meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 1, in the city council chambers in the 
William E. Moore Historic City Hall building, 3002 Wetmore Ave.
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