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Gig Harbor Votes Down Advisory Measure On Marijuana

The General

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Washington State - The City of Gig Harbor will not put retail marijuana to a citywide advisory vote after all. In a 4-3 vote with Mayor Jill Guernsey breaking the tie, the City Council on Monday night directed staff to prepare for an ordinance spelling out how to regulate marijuana sales. The first reading and public hearing will be part of the Aug. 11 council meeting. Before the meeting, at 5 p.m., the city staff will host an open house regarding the code amendments. City staff is currently drafting the text of the potential ordinance.

Up for discussion will be a permanent ordinance dealing with locations of retail stores in the city limits. An open house will be scheduled at some point before the meeting. "I don't think we're going to learn anything from an advisory vote ... this isn't going to help any," Guernsey said, explaining her vote. Those that advocated for an advisory measure felt it was an issue that needed a vote. Casey Arbenz, a criminal defense lawyer, said Initiative 502, which legalized marijuana in 2012, was about more than retail outlets. It also had to do with possession laws.

Arbenz said in his view the battle over marijuana in Gig Harbor boils down to the locations. It's not the retail outlets in general, it's the location. Those that testify and write into the council simply don't want to live next to an outlet. "People like vices, but they don't always want to go in their own backyards to obtain those things," he said. Paul Kadzik said the vote would be a time waster, and after November's election the council would still have decisions to make.

"It gives us another scapegoat and another can to kick down the road," Kadzik said. Councilmember Tim Payne went a step further and said that if it came to a straight up-and-down vote to ban or allow any marijuana in the city, he's prepared to vote. In 2012, 54 percent of Gig Harbor citizens who cast ballots voted in favor of I-502, the state measure that legalized recreational marijuana. The city's planning department has been working on marijuana related ordinances since last September, when chapter 17.63 of the city's munincipal code was drafted. A 2,500-foot buffer between retail outlets was added to the code in February. Council members Kadzik, Payne and Ken Malich voted Monday to move ahead with an ordinance. Arbenz, Rahna Lovrovich and Michael Perrow dissented. Steve Ekberg was not in attendance.

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News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Gateline.com
Author: Karen Miller
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Website: Gig Harbor votes down advisory measure on marijuana | News | The Peninsula Gateway
 
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