The Olympia City Council will consider on Tuesday whether to approve a proposed ordinance that would remove state-licensed recreational marijuana businesses from the one-year moratorium on new pot establishments.
The moratorium, which was approved in May, would still be in effect for other new marijuana-associated land uses such as medical collective gardens.
Other agenda items for Tuesday’s meeting include:
• A presentation on the city’s 2014 Preliminary Operating Budget. At this point, the 2014 budget is $119.3 million, reflecting a 4.2 percent increase over 2013 expenditures, according to information in the agenda packet. The budget documents will be available on the city’s website Wednesday.
• A presentation on the city’s new parking meters.
• A proposal to spend $75,000 to replace the city jail’s video system that allows corrections officers to monitor multiple areas of the facility at a time. “Current equipment is past its life-cycle, is failing, and is no longer supported by the vendor,” states a staff report provided to council members.
Five people spoke during a public hearing last week on the proposed marijuana regulations.
“All in all, I’d like to say that the city is handling these issues both on recreational and medical (marijuana) very well,” said Ezra Eickmeyer, of the Washington Cannabis Association.
“It’s going to be very difficult for retailers to locate in Olympia. That’s not your fault, that’s the initiative itself,” he added.
Rose Eilts, Thurston County chapter director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told the council she hopes Olympia will become a model city for the rest of the state.
“It appears that you’re stepping in that direction so I’m very, very happy about that,” she said.
But Eilts said she thought a couple of the regulations were “overkill.”
“It’s requiring the premises to have operating security and alarm system, which there’s nothing wrong with that, but then the last sentence (states) ‘All videos are subject to inspection by the Olympia Police Department upon request,’” she said. “People that are going into these businesses, do they have to give up their due process in order to have a marijuana license? That seems a little onerous to me.”
Jeff Gilmore urged the City Council to let the process evolve without putting too many restrictions on pot businesses.
“I’ve been a pot dealer in Thurston County for a better part of 35 years,” he said in the hearing. “… I have grown pot in every corner lot in most of this whole town from Fishtrap Loop to East Bay Drive to West Bay Drive. ... I am in this for the long haul. I’m trying to create first-time employment. I’m trying to create jobs with health care.”
If you go
The Olympia City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 601 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia. For more information, call 360-753-8447 or go to olympiawa.gov.Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 email@example.com @Lisa_Pemberton