|Photo: Brian Grimmer
|Patient activist Brian Grimmer: “Once the dispensary/co-op situation is figured out at the state level, we will work with the city council to begin the process of opening a dispensary in Ellensburg”
Ellensburg, Washington has joined the short, but growing, list of cities in the Evergreen State which have decided to allow medical marijuana collective gardens.
On Monday night, the city council unanimously adopted an emergency ordinance on the issue to allow patients to grow cannabis collectively for medical use, reports Aaron Hilf at KNDO.
However, the same emergency ordinance which allows collective marijuana gardens also places a six-month moratorium on medical cannabis dispensaries.
The collective marijuana gardens must be indoors and at least 300 feet from schools, along with other zoning regulations.
“We really wanted to be able to move quickly so that if someone did want to come forward there was a framework within the city, an application process within the city, and zoning within the city that allowed them to become a collective,” said Mayor Bruce Tabb.
For an eminently reasonable $25 permit fee, along with a doctor’s medical marijuana authorization, patients in Ellensburg can now get together and grow cannabis for medicinal use.
|Ellensburg Mayor Bruce Tabb: “We really wanted to be able to move quickly so that if someone did want to come forward there was a framework within the city, an application process within the city, and zoning within the city that allowed them to become a collective”
Medical marijuana cooperative gardens allow three to 10 patients to group together and share expenses and cannabis strains.
Zoning policies are already outlined and in place, KNDO reports.
Following approval of the emergency ordinance, the council approved a six-month moratorium on licensing, establishment and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, reports Barb Owens at the Ellensburg Daily Record.
Governor Christine Gregoire recently vetoed most of SB 5073, which would have specifically legalized medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington. The veto created confusion about whether the shops are legal under state law.
Ellensburg does not have regulations concerning dispensaries, and until the Legislature adopts rules, the moratorium is designed to maintain the status quo, giving the city time to figure out whether dispensaries are allowed under state law.
But one medical marijuana patient said a collective garden store will open soon in Ellensburg.
Central Washington University student and medical cannabis patient Brian Grimmer thanked the council for “bravely stepping forward and doing something about community gardens.”
Grimmer, 42, broke his back in a motorcycle accident when he was 22 years old.
“On the 21st of July I went around the city and county and no one had any clue what to do when I inquired about my right to collectively grow cannabis as of the 22nd of July [when the new law kicked in],” Grimmer told Toke of the Town Wednesday afternoon.
“With the moratorium in place for dispensaries, the plan is to open a wellness center and community action center,” Grimmer said. “People will be able to get massages, ask questions and once we find a participating clinic, we will provide space to allow patients to get an authorization in town.
“Once the dispensary/co-op situation is figured out at the state level, we will work with the city council to begin the process of opening a dispensary in Ellensburg,” Grimmer told me.
Another public meeting is scheduled for September 19 to revisit the Ellensburg ordinance and make any needed changes.
“We’re not done,” Grimmer told me. “Our next move is to approach the commissioners of Kittitas County and pursue a similar measure for the county.
“I just look at this this way – the time for fear has passed,” Grimmer said. “There is protection in numbers and if we all step up together, not only will we be a voice, we will make change happen.”