Bill would limit how cities restrict marijuana

A bill scheduled to be seen in the upcoming Legislative Session could put the power to allow marijuana sales back to a vote of the people.

HB 2336 has been prefiled in Olympia, and would permit cities, towns, and counties to prohibit the production, processing, or sale of marijuana only by an ordinance and a public vote.

The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Representatives Cary Condotta and David Sawyer, would amend current rules that allow jurisdictions to limit marijuana activities.

“A city, town, or county may not enact a local comprehensive plan, development regulation, or ordinance that expressly prohibits, or has the effect of prohibiting, the siting of a state licensed marijuana retailer, processor, or producer”

The bill specifically dictates that the State of Washington has sole authority to regulate recreational and medical marijuana statewide, and that local authorities are prohibited from enacting marijuana-related regulations without approval.

The City of Westport has prohibited marijuana use and sale within their city limits. They cite that allowing the voter approved products could “increase the already high rate of drug abuse in the City”, and have prohibited it as long as it remains illegal under federal law.

The City of McCleary currently prohibits any marijuana use “that is illegal under local, state, or federal law” within any part of the city.

The City of Ocean Shores renewed a moratorium for new business in April of this year, currently scheduled to run until March.

The new rule would allow any citizen to submit a petition to prohibit marijuana business from a community, as long as it is signed by “at least thirty percent of the voters within the jurisdiction”. In addition to this, a measure could be placed on an election ballot.

If Grays Harbor County were to hold a vote, only voters within the unincorporated areas would participate, and similar rules would exist for cities.

The bill also adjusts how licensing and permitting is handled within the state.


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