The Thurston County Board of Commissioners adopted an ordinance Tuesday, Dec. 11 establishing its interim marijuana regulations as final and ending a string of interim renewal going back to November 2013.
Marijuana processors, producers and retailers shouldn’t experience changes that affect operations, as no changes were made to the interim ordinance prior to approving it as final.
The Thurston County Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 to finalizing the regulations, with Thurston County commissioners John Hutchings and Bud Blake voting in favor and commissioner Gary Edwards voting against.
During discussion before the vote, Edwards said he wouldn’t be able to support the ordinance because he felt the board shouldn’t rush to a vote without addressing the public comment surrounding producer operations in industrial and rural zoning.
“I just can’t bring myself to be in favor of this with so many concerns,” Edwards said. “Even those people who testified in favor of it don’t like it. So, I just think we need more changes to this ordinance.”
Blake said he was in favor because the ordinance could be amended later on with further discussion. The current ordinance is a step in the right direction and good for industry, he said, and its revision history is a testament to this.
Since 2015, Thurston County regulations have prohibited marijuana producer and/or processor operations in rural zones. Jeremy Davis, senior planner of development code amendments for Thurston County Community planning, said as of February of 2017 there were about 50 legal non-conforming marijuana operations in rural zones.
Davis said these operations, which are made up of producers and processors, won’t be affected by the finalized ordinance.
Coming together with a final regulation has been a long process. Since the state first began issuing licensing back in 2013, the county has had interim regulation with the intent to come up with a final resolution, Davis said.