When you think of a community garden, chances are you won’t think a Pot Garden! In Washington State, collective medical marijuana gardens became legal last week as determined by legislature earlier this year.
Vancouver city council, like Clark County commissioners last week, has postponed the law allowing collective medical marijuana gardens. Both governing parties decided more time is needed to establish zoning regulations for the gardens.
Without further state guidance, it’s not possible for cities at this time,” says Ted Gathe, Vancouver City Attorney. Currently, it’s not if, but how, to implement the new law. This no longer is a drug debate; it’s a zoning matter. Most agree that collective medical marijuana gardens should not be allowed near schools, parks, churches, business districts and neighborhoods.
Axel Swanson, senior policy analyst for Clark County commissioners said the county commissioners’ decision was not “about the board taking a position about the merits of medical marijuana. It was about the board making sure there was a proper public process before allowing this activity in the county.” That process includes public hearings in coming months.
According to the new state law, collective medical marijuana gardens are legal if they are limited to 10 people growing up to 45 plants at one site. No garden may have more than 15 plants per patient or contain more than 24 ounces of usable cannabis per patient, up to 72 ounces. Gov. Gregoire vetoed a provision that would have legalized dispensaries.
There are conflicting views and opinions on the law but at least they are leaving the zoning legislation’s to the local jurisdictions. Neither council or city officials are ready to deal with pot gardens, but posting a moratorium and soliciting public input for six months seems to be the best thing to do for now.
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