The clouds almost parted over Hoquiam’s moratorium on marijuana businesses last night, as the city council adopted their revised zoning ordinance that would have allowed state licensed stores in some areas on a close 7-5 vote. But then they rejected revisions to their business licensing ordinance voting 6-6 against it – making it briefly legal to locate a store in some zones, but illegal to get a business license for a marijuana business.
Mayor Jack Durney said after that vote “OK friends we’ll think about that huh? Kind of a contradiction in terms if we change our zoning but then we say we’re not going to license them.”
City Attorney Steven Johnson explained “Our ordinance says that we cannot issue a business license if it violates federal law. By not passing this [and passing the other] they’re legally zoned, but we can’t issue a business license.”
After councilwoman Kay Diehm said she was unclear on the issue, the council reconsidered the original vote and failed to pass it’s marijuana zoning ordinance 6-6 against.
It took Mayor Durney to break that same tie on another vote to send the ordinance back to the public works committee “I don’t think we should have a moral discussion about this at this point. I think we need to deal with what the public has told us to do.”
The council will revisit the same ordinance, with one line omitted that would have made medical marijuana collective gardens not only illegal in city limits, but also a public nuisance and subject to abatement by the city.
Councilman Paul McMillan said the change wouldn’t sway his opinion on the matter, and felt that Hoquiam should wait for Colorado to pioneer the issue before challenging federal law.
Councils John Pellegrini, Kay Diehm, Greg Grund, Paul McMillan, Darrin Moir and Bill Nelson all voted against allowing recreational marijuana businesses in Hoquiam.
The Hoquiam city council last night took one step closer to a ban on all marijuana businesses. Councilman Paul McMillan amended their planning commission report that recommended all marijuana processing, producing, and retailing businesses be located in the city’s industrial zones. “Until federal law is amended to permit the growing, distribution, and possession of marijuana, or until a court of competent jurisdiction determines that local governments in Washington state may permit such uses, the city of Hoquiam will adhere to federal law and will not authorize these activities.”
City council adopted the amended report, with “no” votes from councils Ben Winkleman and Jasmine Dickoff. Mayor Jack Durney also recommended that council Richard Pennant recuse himself from the vote and conversation as he admitted that he has applied for a business license.
The report also recommends prohibiting all collective gardens within city limits. It will now be moved on to their land use hearing examiner, and will come back to the council in the form of a proposed ordinance in the coming month.