MONTESANO — The Grays Harbor County commissioners delayed approval of a new ordinance Monday afternoon that would regulate where marijuana can be grown, processed and sold.
County Commissioner Frank Gordon said he didn’t feel comfortable approving the request because Commissioner Wes Cormier is on personal leave this week. He’ll return next week. Commissioner Herb Welch agreed to table the issue.
During a public hearing on Monday, only two people spoke.
Caroline Perry of Hoquiam testified in favor of the measure, noting she was on a county-appointed Canabis Land-Use Taskforce and helped craft the ordinance. Perry says she’s also applied for a producer license.
Perry pointed to the success Pacific County has had in attracting new marijuana businesses ever since their county and port embraced the idea.
Ocean Shores City Councilwoman Jackie Farra also testified, wondering if it was possible for the county to tax the marijuana in some fashion to reap more revenue.
Deputy Prosecutor Jim Baker said that cities may be able to rely on a business & occupation tax, but state law does not allow counties to implement a similar tax. About the only revenue the county could see from marijuana businesses would be in the form of a sales tax.
The proposed ordinance puts growing facilities mainly in agriculture areas and processing facilities in industrial areas or rural agriculture areas. Retail outlets would be located mainly along busy roads or highways and out of residential areas.
The Grays Harbor Planning Commission has recommended approval of the ordinance.