WA: Thurston County Seeks Input On Proposed Permanent Marijuana Rules

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After nearly three years of operating under interim zoning regulations, Thurston County may be closer to a set of permanent rules for its state-licensed marijuana enterprises.

The county’s interim regulations are set to expire on Nov. 10. They’ve been amended numerous times, mostly in response to changes in the state’s regulations.

“It’s been very confusing for a lot of folks,” said Kraig Chalem, an associate planner with the county.

The Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to take input on a set of proposed permanent zoning regulations for state-licensed recreational marijuana producers, processors and retailers in unincorporated Thurston County. The meeting will be at the County Courthouse, Building One, Room 280, at 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Olympia.

After the public hearing, commissioners could adopt the permanent regulations, or ask staff to make changes to the proposal.

If approved, the new regulations would amend Thurston County code and affect unincorporated Thurston County, including the three Urban Growth Areas, officials say.

The latest round of proposed regulations include some new specifications for growers, Chalem said.

“The regulations that are proposed would allow for parcels that are at least 10 acres in size to have 200-foot buffers, and be located in rurally zoned residential areas,” he said. “That’s probably the big difference.”

In addition, new buildings that are bigger than 8,000 square feet and used by marijuana operations would be subject to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Review, Chalem said.

He said the permanent regulations also outline “clearer standards for noise, light and odor” for marijuana operations.

Right now, the county has about 90 applications for pot businesses, Chalem said.

“A vast majority of those, probably 60 or 70, are going to be producers or producers/processors,” he said. “The remainder (are) going to be retailers and processors.”

During a public hearing last summer, commissioner Cathy Wolfe said the county’s interim marijuana regulations were meant to change and adapt to a new industry.

“We’re doing this by design because things are changing with the Legislature and the world out there,” she said. “… It’s not just because we can’t get our minds made up.”

To view the full text of the proposed permanent regulations, go to Thurston County Planning Department Official Website.

Read more here: Thurston County Commissioners will hold public hearing on proposed permanent marijuana regulations | The Olympian

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Full Article: Thurston County Seeks Input On Proposed Permanent Marijuana Rules
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