|Photo: Washington Highways|
|The collectives will be limited to a strip along State Route 525 in Mukilteo|
On a 5-2 vote Monday night, the Mukilteo City Council approved an ordinance allowing collective medical marijuana gardens in the Snohomish County, Washington city.
The move is significant, according to patient activist Philip Dawdy of the Washington Cannabis Association and 4 Evergreen Group, because it makes the city the first in Snohomish County to allow for collective gardens. Other cities in the county, including Everett, Lake Stevens and Marysville, have banned them.
Mayor Joe Marine said the city was forced to make a decision after Washington state’s collective medical marijuana garden went into effect July 22. It allows qualified patients to collectively grow marijuana for medicinal use. Up to 10 patients can create a collective garden of up to 45 plants, harvesting up to 4.5 pounds of usable cannabis.
“What we don’t want is to have no direction, talk two weeks, three weeks, and do nothing, punting essentially,” Mayor Marine told Chris Daniels at KING 5 News, “because it leaves the door open with no rules.”
Collectives will be required to locate in light industrial zones, and must be 500 feet away from schools and daycare facilities, as well as from houses, apartment buildings, each other. The shops must have business licenses and pay a $333 application fee.
The city’s zoning requirements will limit collectives to a strip along State Route 525, assuming there are spaces available for rent in that area.
The council at its last meeting on July 18 rejected an emergency temporary ban on the gardens, reports Katya Yefimova at the Everett Herald.
“We are aware of the need, we are aware of the interest,” Council President Richard Emery said on Monday. “We are also aware of the concern over how we manage our city. I think we will be better served as a community if we have some kind of rules.”
The rules, effective immediately, are valid for six months. The city is expected to prepare permanent regulations by the time the issue comes back before the council.
Councilwoman Jennifer Gregerson said on Monday that the public should view medical marijuana patients as people suffering from brain tumors and other life-threatening conditions.
“I think it can sound scary to have people coming to the city to buy medical marijuana,” she said. “But there are people in Mukilteo who use medical marijuana. Take my word for it.”
“[O]ne thing is clear,” Dawdy said. “There will be safe access for patients in Snohomish County and that smells like victory.”