The Pierce County Council unanimously voted Tuesday, July 2, to delay the start of the marijuana market until state licensing rules are set and the county adopts permanent zoning regulations.
Last fall, Washington state voters approved Initiative 502, which creates a framework for the licensing the production and sale of recreational marijuana. The state Liquor Control Board is expected to release rules governing the process later this year. The seven-member Council wants to make sure there is adequate time to consider whether additional local regulations will be needed in unincorporated areas.
"Like other local communities around the state, we need to act now to ensure that the marijuana industry doesn't get started before we have the opportunity to consider its impacts on our citizens," said Councilmember Doug Richardson (District 6).
Ordinance 2013-26 puts marijuana-related activities on hold for six months. During that time, a working group of representatives from five areas of county government - the Council, Executive's Office, Sheriff's Department, Prosecutor's Office, and Planning and Land Services - will work on draft regulations for the Council's consideration this fall.
"There are a lot of unanswered questions. This temporary delay gives us time to study our options for local regulations," said Councilmember Jim McCune (District 3).
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