The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar

Splash! Summer guide

HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Thursday, December 20, 2012, 11:53 a.m.

Everett council votes to call pot dispensaries nuisances

EVERETT --Pot activists who crammed City Council on Wednesday were unable to dissuade council members from declaring marijuana dispensaries and other cannabis activities public nuisances.
The City Council passed the nuisance ordinance 6-1, with Council President Ron Gipson opposed.
City leaders admitted they're in the awkward position of trying to ensure that legitimate medical marijuana patients have access to the drug, while navigating through legal gray areas. The uncertain environment includes the year or so it's likely to take the state to establish dispensaries that will sell pot for recreational use.
The move comes after voters in November approved Initiative 502, legalizing recreational marijuana use. An earlier state initiative made medical cannabis legal for qualified patients.
"As a city, we're going to be visiting this periodically whether we want to or not because this is a fluid situation," Councilman Paul Roberts said.
Everett's nuisance ordinance was amended, at Roberts' suggestion, to sunset in 18 months, given the certainty of legal changes to come. It's set to take effect in early January.
Some of the issues that city officials say prompted action are dispensaries that skirt the law, odor emitted from growing pot plants and safeguards against criminals who prey on the medical pot patients to steal the drug and sell it on the black market.
The ordinance limits up to 10 qualified patients or somebody designated for them to start a collective marijuana garden, with up to 45 plants. The city discourages the gardens outside of industrial zones, and prohibits them from being located within 500 feet of another parcel containing a collective garden. All gardens must be enclosed within a structure and no cannabis can be visible to the public or neighbors.
The city's nuisance law also prohibits people from smoking pot in public.
More than a dozen activists from Everett and elsewhere in the Puget Sound region came to testify during the hearing that preceded Wednesday vote.
"Alcohol is a way bigger nuisance than cannabis, so think about that before calling (marijuana) a nuisance," said Jared Allaway of Federal Way.
Jeremy Kelsey complained that the city's rules already forced him to close down a dispensary he tried to open on Broadway in north Everett. Kelsey relocated to Mukilteo, where he remains in business. He stressed that his patients are people with dire medical needs.
"I see people at the end of their life more than I should," Kelsey said.
Kelsey said he's considering legal action against Everett. His attorney also spoke at the hearing and proposed an alternative set of regulations, which the city did not incorporate into their ordinance.
Everett's earlier moratorium on collective pot gardens expires Jan. 20.
Other Snohomish County cities have imposed moratoriums on collective gardens and other medical cannabis activities, including Mountlake Terrace on Monday. The moratoriums are intended as a precaution while state lawmakers hash out the rules for growing and selling medical pot.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » Everett

Related

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

HeraldNet highlights

Taking back Church Creek Park
Taking back Church Creek Park: Stanwood students team to rid park of drugs, vandalism
He thinks he can dance
He thinks he can dance: Lynnwood man competes on Fox TV dance show
The pool quandary
The pool quandary: When is the right time for kids' swim lessons?
Small steps, big win
Small steps, big win: Casino manager commits to healthy living