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Published: Monday, June 18, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Everett may extend moratorium on pot gardens

EVERETT -- City leaders are considering extending a moratorium on medical marijuana gardens.
The Everett Planning Commission plans to weigh in on the matter at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, at the Weyerhaeuser Room at the Everett Station, 3201 Smith St.
A state law allowing the gardens went into effect July 22. The law allows cities to license, zone and impose health and safety requirements on collective gardens within their jurisdictions.
Just days before that law went into effect last year, the Everett City Council agreed to allow the gardens and then immediately voted to put that law on hold for a year. The moratorium expires July 20.
Then, leaders said the city needed additional time to figure out how to address concerns related to the storage and handling of chemical compounds, exhaust and air quality, storage of cannabis, electrical wiring, public safety and crime prevention.
The city is still researching and waiting for more clarity on how to regulate the gardens, said city spokeswoman Kate Reardon.
The state law passed last year conflicts with federal rules against growing marijuana.
"We already knew there was a conflict between state and federal laws, and that hasn't gotten any clearer," she said.
City leaders haven't decided how long another moratorium should last, Reardon said.
Any recommendation the Planning Commission makes would ultimately have to be approved by the Everett City Council. The council has the matter listed as a briefing item on its agenda Wednesday.
Area cities have handled the state law differently. Snohomish and Monroe have passed moratoriums. Snohomish extended the moratorium in January. The City Council is expected to discuss extending it for another six months at its June 19 meeting.
Monroe extended the moratorium for six more months effective May 27.
Arlington has a moratorium and plans to revisit the medical cannabis collective garden code amendments at meetings this month.
Mukilteo approved the medicinal gardens on a temporary basis last year and then made it permanent this year.

Debra Smith: 425-339-3197; dsmith@heraldnet.com.

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