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Wednesday, September 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Public weighs in on pot policy

Hearing required after council adopted emergency moratorium

The public hearing on Spokane Valley’s one-year marijuana moratorium drew a crowd at Tuesday evening’s meeting.

Spokane Valley adopted an emergency moratorium on Dec. 9 halting all new marijuana businesses except those regulated by the state. Unregulated marijuana businesses include medical marijuana dispensaries, vapor lounges and private smoking rooms. Deputy City Attorney Erik Lamb said the moratorium does not affect existing businesses.

The public comment period on Tuesday was required within 60 days of adoption of the emergency moratorium.

John Ahern, who lives on Spokane’s South Hill and is a former Republican state legislator, encouraged the City Council to outlaw production and consumption of marijuana, which he called “another rattlesnake in your bed” – adding that the first rattlesnake is alcohol.

Dan Clark, a Spokane County resident, told the council it represents the morality of the community whether it likes it or not.

“This business of pot; it’s an inebriant,” Clark said. “Please find a way to slow it down.”

Tara Harrison, with the Herbal Connection, a medical marijuana dispensary located in Spokane, challenged the council and the marijuana opponents in the room to be careful with misinformation.

“The way the Valley appears to be looking at this is a very closed-minded way,” Harrison said. “You should look at the national movement this is becoming.”

Sean Green, a Spokane resident and the first in the state to get a legal pot-growing license, is one business owner affected by the moratorium. After working extensively with Spokane Valley he rented a building on East Euclid Avenue with the intention of growing, processing and shipping marijuana from there.

Now, Green said, he received a letter from Spokane Valley telling him his business license application falls under the moratorium.

“I applied before the moratorium, in March of last year,” Green said, “but now my license is being held up by this.”

Shane Criddle, founder of Spokane Valley business Fresh Water Fun, said he values his business and he worries the introduction of more marijuana businesses will decrease the value of what he has worked for.

“Are we willing to sell our Valley soul for the sake of tax revenue or for the sake of a substance that is addictive?” Criddle asked.

Because of the manner in which Spokane Valley council meetings are conducted, there was no discussion or comments from council members Tuesday evening.

In order for the moratorium to continue, the council must approve it.

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