Medical marijuana moratoriums could be extended

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The Washougal City Council is expected to consider continuing an emergency moratorium on establishing or operating marijuana collective gardens or dispensaries within city limits.

If approved, the moratorium would be for a year. The Camas City Council is expected to consider a similar ordinance.

Both councils approved a six-month moratorium on July 18. The state legislature passed an act in May that allows certain qualifying medical marijuana patients to have the ability to come together to collectively cultivate medical marijuana. The Act was scheduled to go into effect July 22.

Collective gardens permit qualifying patients to produce, grow and deliver up to 45 cannabis plants to serve no more than 10 qualifying patients for medical use.

Public hearings regarding the moratorium are scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m., in the council chambers at Washougal City Hall, 1701 “C” St., and at 7 p.m., in the Camas City Hall, 616 N.E. Fourth Ave.

Washougal Councilman Jon Russell said during last night’s meeting he understands it is a process that involves a public hearing, but he does not have “high hopes” of people giving their names and addresses while speaking in favor of medical marijuana collective gardens.

Camas City Administrator Lloyd Halverson has said Camas has not had any inquiries about establishing a collective marijuana garden. Washougal Interim Community Development Director Mitch Kneipp said the city received an inquiry last year from an individual lookingat a vacant building on the southeast corner of “E” Street and Washougal River Road.

“He wanted to open a marijuana dispensary and ‘smoke house,’ Kneipp said this morning. “He stated he had talked to the police as well, but I only spoke to him once and never saw him again.

“He wanted people to be able to smoke the product in the store,” he added.

Don Bohlin spoke during the public comments last night.

“It’s pretty simple,” he said. “Obey the federal law. Stop spending any more time [on this issue]. It’s a waste of staff time.”

An initiative passed by Washington voters in 1998 allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The collective gardens issue is expected to be discussed by state legislators during their 2012 session.