Washougal proposes ban on retail marijuana, collective gardens

Public hearing will be held Aug. 11

The City of Washougal is proposing to prohibit medical marijuana collective gardens, as well as recreational marijuana producers, processors and retailers through Dec. 31, 2015.

A public hearing will be held on those issues during the City Council meeting, Monday, Aug. 11, at 7 p.m., in the council chambers at City Hall, 1701 “C” St.

During public comments at the council meeting last night, Harvey Olson asked council members to expand the current ordinance to say “business licenses will be issued only if city, county, state or federal laws will not be violated.”

Council member Dave Shoemaker said the two-year horizon on the sunset clause would leave the decision to another council.

“I do not like that,” he said. “It should be a year-and-a-half instead of two years.”

“It should not have a sunset,” said Council member Connie Jo Freeman.

During the July 22 Washougal Planning Commission meeting, Thomas Sullivan, of Washougal, said revenues are being lost daily.

“It is a safe product,” he said, regarding marijuana. “It is legal and it’s here.”

Sullivan compared recreational marijuana to the alcohol that is available to purchase at Safeway.

“It is regulated,” he said.

Sullivan said marijuana could add jobs and give the city an identity other than being a “sleepy little town.”

“Washougal needs to grow up,” he added.

In a letter to Mayor Sean Guard, Dolores Shaw said approving the marijuana supply process sends a message to children and young adults that its use is safe.

“Marijuana is a stepping stone to the use of harder drugs that destroy lives and families,” she wrote.

Shaw also mentioned the potential increase in impaired drivers, similar to individuals who are drunk.

A moratorium, regarding the retail sale, processing and growing of recreational marijuana within the city limits of Washougal, is in effect until Sept. 1. A moratorium in Camas has an expiration date of Oct. 21.

The Clark County Commissioners have voted to ban the establishment of marijuana production, processing and retail sales facilities in the unincorporated areas of the county.