City of Vancouver to vote on marijuana moratorium Monday

The city of Vancouver may choose to extend its moratorium on collective marijuana gardens from six months to a year when it meets Monday evening and holds a public hearing on the issue.

If it does so, it will join Clark County as another government body in southwest Washington that has voted to not implement a new state law allowing 10 qualified medical-marijuana users to establish a collective garden where up to 45 plants could be grown for personal use. There is no limit on the number of gardens allowed in the state.

The law has caused rancor among government and law enforcement officials: law enforcement worry that the gardens will negatively impact community livability, and increase drug abuse and crimes, such as theft and assaults, associated with drug abuse.

And local governments that must create new zoning, health and safety rules for the gardens, as well as enforce those rules.

“In drafting new regulations, City staff will need to ensure the proposed locations of collective gardens are appropriate and that any potential secondary impacts from the operation of these uses or facilities are minimized and mitigated,” a staff report on the Vancouver city council’s agenda reads.

The Vancouver city council voted to implement a six-month moratorium on July 18, 2011. If the year-long moratorium is approved, the start date will still be July 18. Therefore, a year-long moratorium would be in place until July 2012.

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