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Cheney, Medical Lake, issue marijuana moratorium

By Ian Cull, KXLY4 Multimedia Journalist, ianc@kxly.com
Published On: Dec 11 2012 08:44:31 PM CST
Smoking marijuana

Two Spokane County cities are making sure people are not setting up marijuana retail stores before the state establishes guidelines.

Both Cheney and Medical Lake created six-month moratoriums to put a hold on processing, production, and retail sales of pot. City leaders say they created the moratoriums to prevent their cities from accidentally doing something wrong. 

Medical Lake recently passed a moratorium so residents and potential entrepreneurs know, since there are no rules yet, don't bother trying to open a pot shop.

"We really need to not accept any applications that have anything to do with the process, production, and retail selling of marijuana," City Administrator Doug Ross said.

Cheney passed a moratorium just days after the election and after they received an inquiry from a potential businessman trying to capitalize on the college crowd.

"They wouldn't be able to locate near EWU anyway because that's close to parks," Cheney Mayor Tom Trulove said.

Cheney employees have also created a map to find out where the retailers could open. It's filled with zones that would NOT be suitable.

"It became very clear to us that we needed to look at first the initiative, what's allowed, and our zoning so that we didn't lead someone in the wrong direction," City Administrator Arlene Fisher said.

Medicinal marijuana user and founder of Spocannabis Darren McCrea thinks the cities' decisions are a waste of time since selling and producing pot is still illegal. He worries they're trying to stop the new law.

"I think they're kind of making a fuss over nothing, nothing is happening right now," he said.

City leaders say they're worried that by issuing business licenses for pot growers and sellers, they also run the risk of losing of federal funding for other projects. This moratorium protects them from that, for now.

"There's just questions abound on this issue that I don't think we have any answers to and I don't know when we're going to get those answers," Doug Ross said.

The state liquor control board is expected to have those regulations for pot retailers by next December. Public hearings on the moratoriums will be held within 60 days.

Spokane city leaders will also discuss a possible ban, until the state and federal government give more direction.

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