6-month pot moratoriums set in Kennewick, Richland

Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldOctober 15, 2013 

Kennewick and Richland city councils each unanimously passed six-month moratoriums on marijuana-related businesses at their Tuesday meetings.

The Kennewick council set the date for a public hearing on the issue for Dec. 3. The Richland council also will hear public testimony that day.

The Pasco council said at a Monday workshop that it wants to extend the city's moratorium on marijuana-related businesses for another six months -- six weeks after passing its first moratorium.

The moratoriums will give the cities time to develop appropriate zoning and licensing regulations.

The state is in the process of creating rules to govern the regulation and taxation of the production, processing and retail sales of marijuana, and will begin to accept businesses licenses for this purpose on Nov. 18.

There are many unanswered questions about the implementation of Initiative 502, including the apparent conflict between state and federal law. There's also some concerns about medical marijuana -- which has no regulations -- and recreational marijuana, which will be regulated, taxed and licensed.

The Pasco council will put the moratorium on next week's agenda. If it votes to approve the moratorium, marijuana sales may not be allowed in Pasco's city limits until September 2014.

On Oct. 1, the West Richland City Council also passed a six-month moratorium on production and sales of recreational marijuana. Its ban runs through March 1 and a public hearing has been set for Nov. 5.

-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com

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