Hoquiam Planning Commission recommends limiting pot businesses to industrial zones

The Hoquiam Planning Commission has recommended that the city adopt an ordinance restricting all phases of future marijuana businesses — production, processing and retail — to industrial areas.

City officials hope to have an ordinance adopted before Hoquiam’s marijuana moratorium expires in February. The city released a draft of the ordinance in mid-December, and the City Council voted to send the measure to the planning commission for consideration. The commission discussed the issue at a meeting Wednesday night.

Before the ordinance is enacted, it must be passed by a vote of the city council.

The proposed ordinance would also prohibit all marijuana businesses operated out of homes, as well as all medical marijuana collective gardens.

The measure doesn’t go far enough for Linda Hurd, a planning commission member who advocated for an outright ban of marijuana businesses. Banning marijuana businesses would be legal,according to an opinion released by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson Jan. 16. Hoquiam City Administrator Brian Shay said he would recommend that the city adopt a ban.

Hurd’s motion sparked debate with other members, including Planning Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Winkelman.

“Along with the sales and businesses comes revenue for the city,” Winkelman said.

“We don’t need that, we can do without that,” Hurd replied.

Without the ordinance, there still wouldn’t be many places in the city where marijuana businesses would be allowed. According to state law, marijuana businesses can’t be located within 1,000 feet of a school, park or church.

“Even if we allowed (marijuana businesses) citywide, with the number of parks and churches and things, most of the area is exempt,” said City Planner Josh Beach.

Commission member Dave Murnen moved that the group table the measure, but given the time limit on the moratorium, the commission decided against postponing a recommendation.

The Hoquiam City Council will likely discuss the next steps for the ordinance at a Jan. 27 meeting. City council meetings are held at Hoquiam City Hall at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of every month.


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