Medical marijuana gardens supplying as many as 10 people each and growing as many as 45 plants each may flourish in Vancouver by next year. Under a state law that the Legislature passed in 2011, ESSB5073 , the city has to allow cultivation of cannabis for medical use by qualifying patients. The city is allowed to establish regulations on growing cannabis and has formulated a 50-page proposed ordinance to do so. If the city doesn’t act, then medical marijuana collective gardens can be located anywhere within the city. The state has set no required date for council action, and the city placed a moratorium on action for 18 months while it waited for clarification from the state. No new state action has been taken. The Vancouver Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed regulations at 6 p.m. Oct. 23 in the City Hall council chambers, 415 W. Sixth St. The hearing will be followed by a Nov. 19 Vancouver City Council workshop on the proposed ordinance, a Nov. 26 first reading of the proposed ordinance and a Dec. 13 city council public hearing. Public testimony may be taken at both the planning commission and city council public hearings. A city council vote may be taken on Dec. 13, or later if the council opts for further study or testimony. If the council approves the ordinance, collective gardens could be established starting as soon as garden operators can arrange for cultivation.
Whatever action the city might take could be influenced by whether voters approve or reject statewide Initiative 502 in the Nov. 6 election. That measure would legalize the production, possession, delivery and distribution of marijuana, would regulate the sale of small amounts of marijuana to adults, and would allow the Washington State Liquor Control Board to license marijuana growing and processing. The state’s voters in 1998 decriminalized the medical use of marijuana by approving Initiative 692 . Federal law still brands marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug , meaning it is a controlled substance with “a high potential for abuse,” has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” and “there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.” The federal law means any establishment that grows or sells cannabis may be liable to federal prosecution. After the state law passed, the Vancouver City Council on July 18, 2011, enacted a 12-month moratorium on collective gardens in the city, then extended the moratorium for six more months to allow the state Legislature to clarify its legislation. Now the rubber is hitting the road. In a presentation to the planning commission on Oct. 9, Chad Eiken, director of the city’s Community and Economic Development department, and City Attorney Ted Gathe explained that the city is attempting to both follow state law and avoid responsibility for its conflict with federal law. The proposed ordinance does this by avoiding creation of a marijuana-related conditional-use permit or business license or tax, which would imply that the city endorses the violation of federal law.
Instead, the proposed ordinance would establish zoning for medical marijuana collective gardens. They would be allowed only in light industrial districts, subject to siting and performance standards, with no more than one garden per lot. Each garden would have to be at least 1,000 feet from schools, community centers, public parks, licensed daycare facilities and other collective gardens. Under the proposed ordinance, if a medical marijuana collective garden is established in an existing building, no use permit would be required; a building permit might be required. A garden would have to be entirely within an enclosed and secure structure with an engineered foundation. No onsite sales or display of paraphernalia would be allowed, nor would signs or symbols advertising the use of medical marijuana. Plants cannot be seen from any public space. The proposed ordinance would require garden operators to avoid adverse health and safety effects on nearby properties by limiting odors, smoke, glare from security lights and noise from alarms. Operators would have to install exterior lighting at all entrances, deadbolt locks on all exterior doors and bars on all windows to prevent unauthorized entry. The proposed ordinance also limits a collective garden to a maximum of 24 ounces of useable cannabis per patient, up to a total of 72 ounces of useable cannabis. In addition, no useable cannabis from the collective garden could be delivered to anyone other than a qualifying patient participating in the garden. The proposed ordinance would allow patients who qualify for use of medical marijuana to belong to only one collective garden at a time. It would require a garden’s operator to keep a record of all members and to keep valid documentation of a patient’s proof of identity at the garden.
via :Oregon Live
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