While the state has announced that over 3,700 marijuana business licenses have been applied for, the city of Spokane Valley is slowly moving forward on how to deal with legalized pot locally.
At their Dec. 17 meeting, City Council members were briefed once again by legal and planning staffers on how they were handling the influx of interest of those wishing to open a marijuana-oriented business.
Some council members, however, appear less than thrilled about having to deal with the effects of a voter-approved initiative legalizing pot in Washington state a year ago.
“Do we have to accept it?” asked Council Member Chuck Hafner.
In short, yes, said Deputy City Attorney Erik Lamb. While local jurisdictions can regulate where marijuana can be grown and sold, an outright ban would fly in the face of state law and could invite a legal challenge.
“We have heard that marijuana groups are ready to sue on the day they are denied an application,” Lamb said.
Meanwhile, Scott Kuhta, planning manager, said outdoor growing will be allowed in light and heavy industrial zones. Indoor growing, however, could be done in regional commercial and community commercial areas.
Processing facilities for pot will be set in light and heavy industrial areas, as well, Kuhta said. Retail sales will be allowed in many commercial areas, but not in neighborhood commercial zones.
Statewide, there have been applications for 867 retail outlets. However, the state is planning on only allowing 334 altogether. In Spokane Valley, three retail outlets have been allotted to the 18 expected countywide.
No marijuana facilities – growing, processing or retail sales – will be allowed or advertised within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, recreation centers, child-care centers, parks, transit centers, libraries or arcades.