PULLMAN – New marijuana businesses won’t be getting the go-ahead here for at least another four months.
The Pullman City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to extend a moratorium on new pot shops within the city limits. The moratorium, put in place in November, was initially set to expire May 10 and will now expire Aug. 31.
According to City Attorney Laura McAloon, the extension comes as the state continues to change its marijuana regulations.
“At this time, the liquor and cannabis board proposed regulations are still that – they are proposed,” McAloon said, adding that the board has changed the number of retail stores allotted per jurisdiction three times since last fall.
The moratorium does not affect the marijuana businesses already in operation or under construction in Pullman. Two marijuana retailers – MJ’s Pot Shop and We’re Just Buds – remain open along Bishop Boulevard. A third business, licensed to TH Consulting, is under construction, also on Bishop Boulevard.
Pullman Planning Director Pete Dickinson said last month that the planning commission has been working over the course of the six-month moratorium to bring city codes into compliance with 2015 Washington state legislation that merged the recreational and medical marijuana industries. That legislation initially increased the number of marijuana retailers allowed in Pullman from three to five, as well as decreased the minimum distance required between marijuana retailers and many sensitive zones.
“Planning staff and the planning commission have been actively working on their task in regards to the moratorium in analyzing the effects of the legislation, the emergency rules and the current flux in the state laws,” McAloon said Tuesday.
Because of that flux, McAloon said, Dickinson requested additional time to reconcile the city’s codes with the state.
“We want to make sure that the local regulation is consistent with the state regulation,” McAloon said.
The state’s rules are expected to be finalized in June.
“We’re hopeful that will happen,” she said.
Dickinson, who is on vacation and was not present at Tuesday’s council meeting, has indicated the commission intends to hold a public hearing on the city’s proposed regulations before making a recommendation to the city council.
In other business Tuesday:
- The council unanimously approved a resolution recognizing Mayor Glenn Johnson’s emergency declaration last week, when a water main break flooded hundreds of thousands of gallons of water along North Grand Avenue.
Public Works Director Kevin Gardes noted that the 12-inch main that ruptured had been in place since 1950. A capital improvement project that will replace about 2,000 yards of piping, including the area where the main broke, is set to be designed this year and constructed next year, Gardes said. The project value is estimated at $930,000.
- No community members spoke at a public hearing regarding changes to Pullman’s transit services, set to take effect with the 2016-17 school year. Wayne Thompson, transit manager, said increasing expenditures and static revenues have called for changes to routes and service schedules.
The only areas that will no longer be served by Pullman Transit are routes along Grimes Way and Hopkins Court, Thompson said, noting the former had a daily ridership of only 10 people and the latter a ridership of only six people.
By cutting inefficiencies and combining routes, Thompson said no one route will be delayed by more than 15 minutes. The changes are projected to save 800 service hours per year.
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