City Council Passes Moratorium on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The Edmonds City Council voted 6 to 1 to place zoning moratorium on marijuana dispensaries.

The Edmonds City Council decided by a vote of 6 to 1 that the city should prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries.

The topic arose because the Washington State Legislature will consider a bill regarding dispensaries in the current legislative session.

Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper's staff recommended that Edmonds enact a zoning moritorium barring dispensaries within the city. The measure requires applicants to go through an appeal process, giving the city more authority to reject proposed dispensaries.

"Currently under state law, dispensaries are not allowed," Cooper said. "The recommendation is to have a moratorium until the legislature takes action to make them legal."

While Initiative 692, passed in 1998, legalized the use of medical marijuana, there is no legal way for patients to buy the drug. They must grow the marijuana themselves or ask someone else to grow it for free.

The Washington State Department of Health says that dispensaries selling marijuana are illegal but leaves enforcement of the matter to local jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions have opted not to enforce any actions against dispensaries.

"We as a city are very sensitive to people needed marijuana for medical reasons," Cooper said. "However, we have an obligation to follow state and federal laws regarding the sale of marijuana.


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