Everett puts hold on pot gardens

EVERETT — Everett leaders just said “no” to medical marijuana gardens — at least for the immediate future.

The Everett City Council voted 5-0 Wednesday night to allow the collective gardens with conditions and then promptly voted to put that law on hold for up to a year.

That’s despite 45 minutes of testimony from people who told the council that collective gardens would help them access medical marijuana legally and safely. Not a single person spoke in favor of the moratorium.

“It’s a starting point,” Mayor Ray Stephanson said. “We want to do this right. There’s clearly two sides to this issue. There are those who are suffering, but there’s also the other side: the general protection of the public. We don’t want an unintended consequence.”

A new state law that takes effect Friday allows the gardens. Everett officials want to “prevent widespread proliferation of unregulated collective gardens throughout the city.” They also wanted time to figure out how the gardens would affect issues such as traffic, zoning, chemicals and public safety, said Ramsey Ramerman, assistant city attorney. The ban would not affect patients’ ability to grow their own.

Christina Hines of Everett said she was frustrated by the decision. She suffers from Crohn’s disease and medical marijuana pills have helped lessen symptoms.

She has a 12-year-old son and said she doesn’t feel comfortable growing marijuana in her own home. She also doesn’t want to buy marijuana from a drug dealer.

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