Citing a public health crisis, the Spokane Valley City Council on Tuesday passed a moratorium on all marijuana businesses other than retail, production and processing operations already licensed by the state.
Spokane Valley City Manager Mike Jackson said the moratorium is meant to curb marijuana businesses not regulated by the state’s liquor control board such as vapor lounges. The moratorium does not impact personal use but may impact medical marijuana dispensaries.
The moratorium was added to the council agenda at the last minute, and took effect immediately after a unanimous City Council vote. Councilman Bill Bates was excused absent from the meeting.
A handful of marijuana business owners and supporters scrambled to the meeting on short notice and pleaded with the council to not pass the moratorium. Some recommended Spokane Valley look to the city of Spokane for guidance on how to deal with marijuana businesses.
“We have different values here in the Valley,” said Councilman Arne Woodard. “And we have seen an explosion of DUIs before it was legal to buy marijuana, and since.”
The moratorium requires a public hearing be held within 60 days, after which the city can maintain it or change it. The Spokane Valley scheduled that hearing during the council meeting on Jan. 27.
The topic was not on Tuesday’s agenda. It could only come up for a decision without public notice because the council declared a public health crisis.
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