Thurston County Commissioners pondered their next step in regulating marijuana operations in the county on Wednesday, especially in the Grand Mound area where a number of operations are licensed or under review.
Currently, the county has a set of interim regulations in place that are set to expire on Nov. 8 if they are not renewed or finalized. They dictate that operations are limited to commercial and industrial zones, and there is no limit on the number of medical marijuana cooperatives allowed. New operations are prohibited from rural residential areas; however, those currently in operation have been grandfathered in.
Commissioner Bud Blake said he was concerned about the number of operations in the Grand Mound area because they could choke out other businesses and could become a focal point for operations in the county.
In order to prevent that from happening, county staff recommended a zoning overlay that would prohibit any more applications in the area. It is a common land use regulation tool, Jeremy Davis, senior planner in the Resource Stewardship and Long Range planning department, said. In order to do this, the county would have to hold a public hearing and reach out to the area impacted to see what residents and businesses think.
The commissioners could also make the the current regulations permanent and revisit the issue in a year or so, Davis said.
Resource Stewardship Director Brent Butler said the county could wait to see what impact the federal budget would have on local marijuana laws. Currently, federal funds cannot be used to prosecute marijuana activity if it is allowed under state law.
However, the future of the amendment and of legal marijuana are up in the air due to the messages from the U.S. Department of Justice about the