Aberdeen City Council weighs pot moratorium

The public hearing Wednesday evening on Aberdeen’s six-month pot moratorium exacted one comment from the public, a question from a council member and a 50-page staff report that weighed different options the city has in deciding how to handle state laws legalizing marijuana for recreational as well as medical use.

Only one woman, who did not identify herself when commenting, spoke up. She wanted the moratorium to continue.

City Attorney Eric Nelson said there are several approaches that might be taken.

His counterpart in Auburn chose to amend the law where it “conflicts with state or federal law” regarding gardens and dispensaries, thereby prohibiting them because federal law conflicts with local law and prohibits pot use under any circumstances. Though Nelson said he understood why the federal government “is being coy” about whether arrests will be made either here or in Colorado where recreational use was also approved.

Another route to take could be the one embraced by the town of Milton which prohibited collective gardens in all zoning districts but permits production, processing and the retail sale of marijuana with certain 1.000-foot distance limits, Nelson added.

He said they can vote to continue or to end the moratorium at any time.

Councilmember James Cook checked to make sure no one is being arrested for possession of medical marijuana and Nelson confirmed that.

A committee of department heads, including: Nelson; Finance Director Kathryn Skolrood, Police Chief Robert Torgerson, and Community Development Director Lisa Scott, have been looking at the issue and created the 50-page report.