The Pasco City Council tonight will have a public hearing about an amendment to the city's zoning code that effectively will outlaw medical marijuana gardens in the city.
The city is considering an amendment that won't allow within its zoning code any uses that conflict with state or federal law.
The amendment was prompted by discussions about medical marijuana and whether to allow authorized patients to grow cannabis plants together in a collective garden.
The Legislature in 2011 passed a law allowing collective gardens, but Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed parts of it.
And the state law remains at odds with federal law that still makes growing or possessing pot illegal.
Pasco, Kennewick, Richland and West Richland have put collective marijuana gardens on hold for almost a year in hopes the Legislature would act during the 2012 session to clarify the 2011 law.
All four cities approved yearlong moratoriums on allowing medical cannabis gardens while they waited out the Legislature, but the 2012 session came and went with no changes to the law.
Because the Legislature took no action on medical marijuana this year, Rick White, Pasco's community and economic development director, brought the council a proposed ordinance and resolution in May that states simply that the city won't allow anything in its zoning code that violates state or federal law.
The zoning code amendment effectively bans medical marijuana gardens in Pasco but doesn't stop authorized patients from raising a medical marijuana defense in court if they are busted for possession -- as was allowed by the 1998 initiative.
Patients still could be prosecuted in federal court.
The hearing is part of the council meeting starting at 7 p.m. today, in the council chambers at Pasco City Hall, 525 N. Third Ave.