Marijuana Growers Prepared To Sue Snohomish County

WASHINGTON:  Dozens of aspiring business owners are prepared to sue after Snohomish County Council members voted to ban marijuana growing in certain rural areas, according to a marijuana growers’ advocacy group

Thirty-six growers are prepared to go to court according to Jamie Curtismith, a consultant who represents growers who are impacted by the rule change.

Snohomish County has allowed large producer/processor operations, but after a large number of residents voice concerns, council members enacted a moratorium in October. Now, there is a full-fledged ban in effect for so-called R-5 zones. Those are rural areas where the county typically allows only one house per five acres.

“They just led us down the garden path,” said T.J. Worth, a grower in Arlington. He received a state license but did not get the proper county permits before October. Therefore Worth’s five-acre operation will not be allowed in the eyes of the county despite spending thousands of dollars to launch his business.

Snohomish WA Pot Farms ‘Complete Shock’ to Neighbors

WASHINGTON: The Wagner Lake community just outside of Monroe in Snohomish County offers a tranquil lifestyle featuring mountain views, a lake for swimming, and now…..a pot farm.

Many neighbors had no idea about the new operation until bulldozers and greenhouses started showing up on a ten-acre parcel near them this summer.

“It was a complete shock! We had no idea, no idea,” said Dean Keppler whose family has lived in the area for nearly 40 years. “There were no public notice signs, there were no land action warnings.”

None of the neighbors had heard about public hearings leading up to the Snohomish County Council’s decision on November 13, 2013, to allow marijuana growing and processing operations in what is referred to as R-5 zoning. R-5 zones are rural areas with a minimum of five acre plots, but over the years some plots have been subdivided. That’s allowed for neighborhoods to emerge. Other R-5 zones feature remote, large lots where few people live.

Snohomish County was one of the first to allow growing and processing operations in R-5 zones.

Snohomish County Planning Commission Hearing Set For Nov 18th

Jamie Curtismith                           Shawn DeNae
curtismith@hotmail.com             Shawndenae11@gmail.com

This is a reminder that the Snohomish County Planning Commission will be given a marijuana briefing on November 18, 2014 (5:30pm-2nd floor of 3000 Rockefeller Ave in Everett). They will discuss council’s draft proposal, Motion No. 14-318 and directing PDS to revise the permanent regulations for marijuana-related facilities. From my understanding, we are allowed to attend, but NOT allowed to testify. However, we can send written comments that will be delivered to the Planning Commission via sally.evans@snoco.org.

Here is a recap of motion 14-318:

Marijuana processing and marijuana production would change from permitted to conditional uses in the R-5 zone. No specific standards are included in the draft.

  1. A new code section would restrict medical marijuana businesses from locating near schools, public parks, and the other sensitive uses where state law restricts licensing of I-502 marijuana businesses.
  2. All marijuana businesses would also be restricted within 1,000 feet of airports and airparks.
  3. New marijuana collective gardens, dispensaries, and access points would be restricted from locating within one mile of existing marijuana collective gardens, dispensaries, and access points, and a maximum of one collective garden would be allowed per parcel.

All the relevant documents and meeting information can be found on the new Snohomish County Marijuana Website:

Just to clarify, the two emergency ordinances upheld at Wednesday’s Public Hearing have already been implemented. Both rulings halted the application process for County permits in the R5 and CRC. 14-086 related to 502 businesses and 14-087 related to MMJ establishments. If you missed the meeting, the three+ hours of public testimony can be reviewed here:

Thank you to everyone who gave compelling testimony and/or physically supported the cause by wearing green. Shawn Denae sent a fantastic overview and ‘next steps’ e-mail a few days ago, so I won’t repeat that here. If you did not receive that information, then let either of us know and we will forward you the suggestions (our contact information is below).

I am working on setting up a meeting between marijuana business owners and John Lovick, the current Snohomish County Executive. He has veto authority, so if we can educate him on the reality of the industry, we may have more leverage on influencing the planning department to make ‘appropriate’ recommendations, but we need to start compiling those suggestions. I will follow-up with e-mails as ideas begin to flow.

Washington NORML Official Statement to Snohomish County Emergency Moratorium

To whom it may concern,

The Washington State Affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws would like to submit the attached report to be placed on the record & provided to the planning department and county council in response to Snohomish county’s recently enacted ordinance (14-086) preventing marijuana production from taking place on R-5 zoned properties.

We strongly support the repeal of this ordinance and would also like to remind Snohomish County officials that as they consider what action to take this next Wednesday that they should remember the will of the voters who brought them into office who also approved I-502 by 54.6%.

We are aware that there exists a rather vocal minority in opposition of all marijuana businesses in the county, but disallowing property owners in Snohomish from earning a living on their own property through legal production of marijuana would be akin to telling Snohomish county cattle farmers that they can no longer raise cattle on their property due to the objections of a few animal rights activists, or telling a private mill owner that they can’t earn a living on their property due to the objections of a few environmental activists.  The reality is that marijuana production & processing, cattle farming, & milling lumber are all legal activities that should be allowed despite the moral objection of a few.

We urge Snohomish County Council to repeal this ordinance, considering only the facts rather than unfounded fears, perceived impacts, and the moral objections of a few.

 

Best Regards,

Crystal Oliver

Executive Assistant

Washington NORML

www.wanorml.org

Snohomish County WA Marijuana Businesses Meet To Discuss Zoning

By Jamie Curtismith

Today, several Snohomish County based 502 Producer-Processor-Retailers, Collective Garden Owners and MMJ Dispensaries gathered to discuss the implications of the recent decision by Snohomish County Council members who are trying to address community concerns about issues such as over concentration of collective gardens in certain neighborhoods, allowing collective gardens near things like child care centers where I-502 businesses are not allowed, compatibility of marijuana uses with established rural residential neighborhoods, and compatibility of marijuana businesses with airports.

Snohomish County Council is considering:

1)    Re-zoning the permitted R-5 zone from permitted to conditional use, and thus delaying and further complicating 502 development in the previously approved area. This could possibly also extend to and negatively impact existing MMJ Gardens.

2)    Restrict medical marijuana businesses from the same ‘sensitive use areas’ as currently required of 502, while imposing additional restrictions around airports. Additionally, Council is considering implementing a mile separation clause between marijuana businesses and requiring businesses violating the new space requirements to relocate. Several 502 licensees and existing MMJ businesses are being negatively affected.

3)    Additionally, Council is considering passing an emergency moratorium on all new dispensaries county-wide. It is not clear if this also applies to new 502 permit applications.

The Council will be meeting tomorrow morning at 10:30am in the Henry M. Jackson Board Room, 8th Floor, Robert J. Drewel Building (Administration Building East), 3000 Rockefeller, Everett. A group of business owners will be meeting at 10am in the Plaza Café to discuss a collective strategy for utilizing the 3-minute Public Comment period. Additionally, another Council meeting on Wednesday at 9:30 am will occur in the same location.

Please join us if you can. It is imperative that we stop this Council from reversing their stance on any of the forward progress the legalization movements have made.