Pondering what’s next for pot in Edmonds: Share your opinion with the City Council Tuesday night
Have an opinion about marijuana operations in Edmonds – including regulation of collective gardens or facilities to produce, process or sell pot? Be sure to attend Tuesday night’s Edmonds City Council meeting, when the council will hold a public hearing on that very topic.
According to a memo to the council from City Attorney Jeff Taraday, the Washington State’s Liquor Control Board will be adopting by Dec. 1 a program to license marijuana production, processing and retailing facilities. Edmonds is one of many local jurisdictions statewide considering a range of options in response to the WSLCB program, which was initiated following passage of marijuana legalization Initiative 502 last year.
The city council in August adopted an immediate emergency moratorium on issuing business licenses for any marijuana-related businesses until the City can adopt zoning regulations addressing such operations, and set a public hearing for Tuesday night so citizens can weigh in. The council will also discuss alternative approaches for addressing the state’s proposed licensing process, including taking no action and deferring to the state; taking no immediate action and further assessing alternative approaches; banning marijuana facilities altogether; and adopting specific zoning laws to address impacts of marijuana operations and where they are located.
Also on Tuesday night’s agenda, following a mayoral veto the council will again take up the issue of an interim zoning ordinance to amend the Critical Areas Ordinance, which governs — among other things — buffers next to environmentally sensitive areas. The interim ordinance, aimed at addressing discrepancies between the city’s current ordinance and its “Best Available Science Report,” was initially passed 4-3 by the council Aug. 7, then rescinded in a 4-3 vote Aug. 20 when Councilmember Joan Bloom changed her vote.
The matter was considered urgent because the city is on a tight construction schedule for adding a spray feature to City Park, and wants to ensure that the new feature complies with regulations aimed at protecting a nearby wetland buffer. Following the Aug. 20 vote, Mayor Dave Earling vetoed the rescinded ordinance, so the matter will again be brought before the council. (It takes five council votes to override the veto action.)
In an email to councilmembers explaining his veto decision, Earling noted that because Edmonds is mostly developed, the main route to protecting critical areas is to require buffer enhancement in exchange for allowing development “within the footprint of already developed areas.” In addition, Earling said that rescinding the ordinance “jeopardizes the schedule for City Park improvements,” which have received substantial grant funding.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N. You can see the complete agenda here.