Aberdeen seems to be one vote away from fulfilling the voters’ wishes and allowing the retail sale of marijuana in the city.
The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday evening to ask City Attorney Eric Nelson to draw up an ordinance that would allow a retail outlet for marijuana to be located in downtown commercial and general commercial zones as well as light industrial and industrial zones where production and processing facilities would go. Medical marijuana collective gardens are still banned in all zones.
The request followed a public hearing before the council in which Planning Commission Chairman Brian Little endorsed the zoning proposal. Planning Commission member John Martinsen also spoke. He wanted the retail sale of pot to remain in light industrial and industrial zones to contain pot operations, describing himself as a fuddy duddy opposed to its consumption.
One citizen worried that pot would be a bad influence on the city.
On Oct. 23 of last year, the council voted for interim zoning for state-licensed marijuana facilities. The interim zoning asked that all production, processing and retail be put in industrial and light industrial areas of town. The commission tweaked the interim zoning by recommending that retail also be allowed in the two designated commercial zones.
The council chose to go with the commission’s recommendation, which was also based on the sentiments expressed by many who attended a commission meeting at the Log Pavilion on Jan. 29.
Aberdeen is allocated one retail store. There is no limit on permits for processing and production. The state Liquor Control Board must approve the application and also sets limits on where a retail outlet can be located.
Nelson told the council it can decide to vote for, against or amend the ordinance once it is submitted at the next council meeting on March 26.