Franklin County commissioners take no action on pot moratorium

Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldMay 7, 2014 

Franklin County commissioners took no action Wednesday on a moratorium against marijuana sales, production and processing in unincorporated parts of the county.

That means the current moratorium, approved in March, will likely continue until September.

The county held a public hearing -- which state law requires after a moratorium is implemented -- but no one spoke.

Commissioners said they had hoped the state Legislature would provide more clarity on the establishment of marijuana businesses in its recent session, but none came.

Commissioner Brad Peck expressed reservations about allowing marijuana sales while federal law still outlaws it. More uncertainty over federal enforcement could come if Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate after the November election, he said.

"A fair amount of the funding that we deal with flows from the federal, to the state, down to the county," he said.

Commission Chairman Bob Koch, who opposed extending the moratorium, said the county should not continue the moratorium past September. He has said the county should neither try to ban or regulate its sale, because it has no control of the issue.

"The Liquor Control Board is controlling the licensing, permitting and placement of it," he said.

No applications for marijuana retailers in Franklin County outside Pasco made it past initial screening by the Liquor Control Board.

Three retailers in Pasco are still in the running for licenses, though the city council is now considering a ban on sales.

The state also received 15 license applications for growers and 10 for processors in Franklin County, including Pasco. None of those had been approved as of Wednesday.

Also Wednesday:

-- A resident spoke against speeding on Wernett Road, in the unincorporated area surrounded by west Pasco. Hector Alamillo said cars come through the area between Road 44 and Road 48 at 40 mph to 70 mph.

"I'm just trying to save the neighborhood from a real catastrophe happening to a child," he said.

-- Commissioners proclaimed May as "Older Americans Month."

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543;; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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