Licensed marijuana growers in Spokane County’s agricultural areas could be allowed to dry, bag and label their crops under a zoning change being considered by county commissioners.
The Washington state Liquor Control Board requires one license for growing and another license for processing, which includes preparing dried marijuana for sale.
Until now, the county has said that processing is only allowed in light industrial and regional commercial zones.
But state processing licenses also allow chemical processes to extract the active ingredient from marijuana to create derivative products or to combine it into a food product.
Commissioners have wanted to keep that kind of processing out of agricultural zones. It is more suited to industrial and commercial areas, they said.
But they never intended to prevent growers from bagging up their pot, they said.
On Tuesday, they told the county planning director to prepare an interim zoning ordinance to allow limited processing in agricultural areas, which they said is similar to getting apples or vegetables ready for market.
License applicants had contacted commissioners and the planning director asking the county to relax the limitations on processing so they could get their crop ready for retail sale from their own agricultural properties without having to send the product through another processor.
Planning Director John Pederson said growers who want to bag and label their product would have to get two state licenses: one for production and another for processing.
Until now, the county has rejected processing applications for growers in agricultural zones.
Douglas and Grant counties are allowing drying, bagging and labeling in agricultural areas, Pederson said.
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