Archive for July 2014
Spokane Valley officials are concerned that some readers may have mistakenly inferred the city is sanctioning marijuana use at a new members-only social club because it issued business licenses to the establishment.
The Lounge, located in the former Ringo's casino at Sprague and Bowdish, is getting around state prohibitions on public marijuana use by operating as a private club. Owners acknowledged in a July 26 article that they're operating in a legal gray area but believe they've cobbled together a legally defensible business model.
City spokeswoman Carolbelle Branch says the only business licenses the Valley has issued to the Lounge are for its social club and its consulting service, which is how the company refers to its on-site medical marijuana dispensary. Branch said the licenses in no way reflect the city's sanctioning of marijuana use on the premises, noting that regulatory power rests with other agencies.
The establishment is blending Washington's newfound tolerance for recreational marijuana with the more loosely regulated medical marijuana and the built-in loopholes that private social clubs have long enjoyed in this state. The result is a mix of regulatory jurisdictions, many of which are still trying to sort out the state's largely untested laws and how to enforce them.
Either way, as noted in the original article, law enforcement has pledged to take a zero tolerance approach to impaired driving regardless of whether it's drugs or alcohol
Valley leaders unanimously adopted new restrictions on recreational marijuana retailers tonight despite warnings from pot entrepreneurs that it could doom the fledgling industry's success here.
The local restrictions go beyond the existing state prohibitions on marijuana operations within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and libraries. In the Valley, retail operations also are now prohibited within 1,000 feet of the Centennial Trial and planned Appleway Trail, as well as any land earmarked for future schools, parks or libraries. A late addition to the ordinance also prohibits retail operations near Spokane Valley City Hall or city-owed property that could be used for parks or city operations in the future.
Several people urged the council to reject the additional restrictions, with some prospective retailers warning that they may have to consider a lawsuit against the city if the additional restrictions prevent them from finding suitable locations to open their stores.
Crystal Orcutt called the restrictions hypocritical because no other industry faces the same types of restrictions. Orcutt noted that there's an adult products emporium across the street from city hall and several bars and cocktail lounges nearby, both of which she suggested pose greater threats to the health of the community.
“The zoning restrictions that are being suggested here tonight are too restrictive,” she said.
The proposal was approved unanimously without comment by council members.