Marijuana gets public hearing before Enumclaw Planning Commission

Marijuana plant - Courtesy Brandpoint
Marijuana plant
— image credit: Courtesy Brandpoint

The city of Enumclaw may be heading toward a total prohibition on all phases of the marijuana trade, both recreational and medicinal.

The first step toward the widespread lockdown on legal weed – from production to processing and eventually selling – is to be debated during Thursday night’s meeting of the Enumclaw Planning Commission.

That group will be gaveled to order at 7 p.m. in council chambers of Enumclaw City Hall, 1339 Griffin Ave. There will be a public hearing prior to the commission’s vote.

The Planning Commission’s verdict serves as a recommendation to the City Council, which wields the ultimate authority.

Even though Washington state voters passed Initiative 502, which legalizes private use of marijuana by adults, the state’s attorney general has decreed that cities and towns have the right to set their own rules and regulations.

Planning Commission members can act as they see fit, but will start with a staff recommendation from Community Development Director Erika Shook. Her report includes the administrative belief “that all marijuana land uses involving growing, producing, processing or sales of marijuana…be prohibited within the City of Enumclaw.”

Shook’s report refers to legalized marijuana as “an emerging industry with a documented history of risks, crime and hazards, and as of yet, untested rules and procedures.”

Her report acknowledges that the state’s Liquor Control Board has detailed potential troubles with legal weed, but “the rules are untested and the potential for the uses to detrimentally impact the community is high.

Shook emphasizes that the city is only dealing with the growing, processing and selling of marijuana and doing so through the land-use process. Nothing the city is doing, she said, infringes on an adult’s legal right to use the product.

The Liquor Control Board will begin issuing business licenses next month to those who produce, process and sell marijuana.

Shook’s report offers a concession to those who might want to obtain marijuana, medicinal or otherwise. King County allows processing and producing in a variety of zones, she wrote.

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