EVERETT — The Snohomish County Council on Wednesday decided to collect more public input as it considers making permanent rules for marijuana businesses.
In discussing the issue, council members are hoping people will limit their comments to certain proposed amendments to the regulations for state-licensed recreational marijuana enterprises in some rural areas. A public hearing scheduled for 10:30 a.m. April 15 in the Council Chambers.
The county lawmakers are considering requiring various types of permits for marijuana growers and processors, based on the state’s three-tiered system for different sizes of operations.
One permitting scheme under consideration would require a public hearing process and approval by the county hearing examiner.
Another would leave permitting of marijuana businesses up to the county planning department.
The other options are to prohibit all marijuana operations — or allow them without requiring special permits.
The council also is taking public input on several standards it could impose on marijuana businesses, such as rules related to noise, odor and traffic. It is also considering allowing the county planning department or the hearing examiner to require some or all of the standards on a case-by-case basis.
The council on March 4 extended for six months a moratorium on new marijuana businesses in certain rural areas after hearing hours of testimony from people in the newly legal industry and concerned neighbors. The council plans to enact permanent rules before that moratorium expires.
More information on the proposals can be found at bit.ly/19QTyou.
Voters in 2012 approved Initiative 502, which created the state’s legal recreational marijuana industry. In 2013, the council enacted county policies for pot businesses.
But after people voiced concerns, the council in October enacted two emergency ordinances, one addressing recreational marijuana businesses and the other related to medical-marijuana dispensaries and gardens.
Council members wanted more time to consider issues raised by people in the unincorporated Clearview area and in so-called R-5 zones — rural areas where the county typically allows only one house per five acres.
Residents’ worries prompted the council to pass an emergency ordinance that banned growers, processors and retailers in the R-5 zone that weren’t already in business as of Oct. 1. It also enacted another measure that prohibited new medical marijuana businesses along a one-mile stretch of Highway 9 in Clearview.