OLYMPIA – On August 29, 2017, the Thurston Board of County Commissioners decided on the next steps for cannabis/marijuana permitting in Thurston County.
Commissioners asked staff to schedule a public hearing to consider renewing the current interim regulations that are set to expire on November 8, 2017 for an additional six months. No hearing date has been set at this time.
The Board also directed staff to work with interested parties to investigate options for an overlay zone to further refine permitted locations for future marijuana producers, processors, and retailers. Consideration of an overlay zone will require further public involvement with stakeholders in the affected areas, and may require an additional public hearing prior to adoption. By extending the interim regulation, it would allow the Board to fully explore this option in order to make an informed decision on a permanent regulation prior to May 2018.
Washington State licenses marijuana producers, processors, and retailers under RCW 69.50. The state began to take applications for licenses on November 18, 2013. Thurston County did not have regulations governing such uses in its zoning regulations, and therefore passed Ordinance No. 14978 enacting interim regulations until final regulations could be considered and approved by the Board of County Commissioners. State law allows for the interim regulations to be extended up to six months, and requires a public hearing be held prior to a decision to extend interim regulations.
The interim regulations amended the Thurston County Code to add Chapter 20.63 for the rural county, Chapter 21.103 for the unincorporated Lacey Urban Growth Area, Chapter 22.65 for the Tumwater Urban Growth Area, and Chapter 23.91 for the unincorporated Olympia Urban Growth Area.
An interim ordinance will renew the provisions of Ordinance No. 14944, as amended by Ordinance No. 14978, Ordinance No. 15210, and most recently Ordinance No. 15465 (May 8, 2017). The interim ordinance provides notification requirements and minimum lot sizes for producers and processors, restricts producers from locating in residential districts; and requires new buildings associated with marijuana operations over 8,000 square feet be subject to Chapter 17.09 TCC, requiring a review under the State Environmental Policy Act. In addition, processing is permitted in most zones that permit industrial uses, and retailing is permitted in most commercial zones.