Covington passes a one year moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and collective gardens
By DENNIS BOX
Covington Reporter Editor
August 18, 2011 · Updated 8:00 AM
The Covington City Council unanimously passed a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and collective gardens at the Aug. 9 meeting.
The council agreed with the Planning Commission recommendation to impose a one year moratorium.
The language of the resolution stated the moratorium covered the “establishment, location, operation, licensing, maintenance, or continuation of medical marijuana dispensaries, production facilities, processing facilities and collective gardens....”
According to the council document, the commission discussed the issue July 21 and decided the moratorium was the best course because of the conflict between federal and state law.
The current issue facing the city arose when Gov. Chris Gregoire on April 29 vetoed portions of a bill passed by the Legislature amending the state law allowing the use of medical marijuana.
Initiative 692 was passed by state voters in 1998 allowing a defense for possession of marijuana for qualifying patients or designated providers.
The Legislature amended portions of the medical marijuana law during the 2011 session, but, the governor vetoed a large portion of the bill stating she was concerned about the violation of federal law and the legal danger for state employees.
Covington City Attorney Sara Springer said,”The problem with (Gregoire’s veto) is there are still many uncertainties and ambiguities how to apply this legislation on a local level.”
Springer said there continues to be a conflict with federal law. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration lists marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic and there is no provision at the federal level for medical marijuana.
Springer stated at the meeting the moratorium gives the city staff time to consider options for city regulations and to find out if the Legislature will bring more clarity to the state law during the 2012 session.Contact Covington Reporter Editor Dennis Box at email@example.com or 1-425-432-1209 (ext 5050).