Yakima County commissioners on Tuesday are expected to approve an ordinance that places a measure on the November ballot asking voters whether marijuana businesses should be allowed in unincorporated areas of the county, where currently they’re not allowed.
Commissioners are expected to make the decision during their 10 a.m. business meeting Tuesday at City Hall, 129. N Second St.
Commissioners long have said they based a ban on such businesses on the way Yakima County voters in 2012 rejected by 57.8 percent Initiative 502 — which legalized the recreational use of marijuana — despite statewide approval.
However, since then more than 20 state-licensed marijuana growers and processors have emerged in unincorporated areas of the county.
Many of them say they initially were low-key operations solely catering to the medicinal market.
But a change in state law in June 2016 folded all medicinal operations into the broader recreational market.
The change places the shops that previously operated only as medicinal providers in conflict with the county’s ordinance that bans all recreational marijuana businesses, such as growers, processors and retailers in unincorporated areas.
But area growers and processors have formed a growers’ association and say they’re ready to take the matter to court if the county attempts to shut them down.
And the county admits that it lacks the resources in its code enforcement department to tackle the issues at this time.
So before moving forward with any enforcement action and devoting more resources to code enforcement, the county has agreed to place the matter before voters.