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Marijuana growers in county will need 8 acres, for now

Spokane County commissioners may have thrown a wrench into the plans of some would-be marijuana growers hoping to set up in rural areas.

An interim zoning ordinance approved Monday says anyone growing recreational marijuana will have to be on at least 8 acres, with plenty of space between the fields or buildings and the property lines.

The extra space is designed, in part, to provide increased security for the businesses and extra protection for neighboring property owners, Commissioner Al French said. Commissioners recently have heard from neighbors of potential marijuana growing operations who have “significant concerns,” he said.

“It will clearly impact folks that are on a parcel of ground that is less than 8 acres,” French said.

The maximum area any licensee can grow marijuana is 21,000 square feet, about half an acre. Any applicant who planned to set up on a parcel less than 8 acres might not be able to relocate easily.

In a separate announcement Monday, the state Liquor Control Board said it won’t process any applications now if there are significant changes, including a change of address. The agency has so many applicants asking to make changes that those requests are getting in the way of processing the applications that are ready, said Brian Smith, a board spokesman.

How long it will take to get back to applications with requested changes is unclear. So is how long the interim ordinance will last.

An interim ordinance takes effect immediately but is only good for 60 days. The commissioners plan to schedule a hearing during that period, then decide whether to revoke it, change it or make it permanent.

“My guess is, this isn’t the last time we’re going to be dealing with (marijuana rules),” French said. “Every community’s going to be trying to find their way through this.”



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