A city of Lacey request to get medical marijuana collectives to comply with city regulations has so far been met with mixed results.
The owner of Northwest Collective has said he will stand his ground; Cannabis Outreach Services has asked the city for an extension; and a third, identified as Axis Management, has vacated its property near Pacific Avenue and Sleater-Kinney Road.
It wasn’t immediately clear why Axis left its building or why it was evicted. A Thurston County Sheriff’s Office eviction notice currently is affixed to the property.
Lacey City Attorney Dave Schneider said the collective’s move was unrelated to the letters the city mailed to each in the fall.
“It wasn’t anything we did,” he said.
In September, the city sent letters to each collective, asking them to comply with the “specific guidelines of a ‘collective’ as defined in Lacey municipal code.”
The city code, which has some similarities to the laws developed for Initiative 502, was adopted in 2012, Schneider said.
Each city letter outlined a similar concern, which required the collectives to be in compliance within 60 days of the Sept. 10 notice.
“The most evident discrepancy is your location does not comply with the minimum 1,000-foot distance requirement from schools,” the letter states. “There are two private schools located within 1,000 feet of the property you are operating from.”
One of those schools is Pope John Paul II High School on Pacific Avenue.
“This means you must make application and receive approval from the city for a site that complies with all zoning and distance requirements, effectively moving your location,” the letters go on to say.
The owner of Cannabis Outreach could not be reached for comment, but has since asked the city for one extension, which was granted, followed by a second extension request, Schneider said.
The city has yet to respond to the second request, he said.
Owner Joe McConkey of Northwest Collective, 5840 Pacific Ave. SE, said he responded to the city, through his attorney, with a letter of his own.
Schneider said, and McConkey confirmed Sunday, that McConkey plans to appeal any action taken by the city.
“We’re in the process of determining what that next step could be,” Schneider said, adding that one step could be to be file a notice of civil violation.
McConkey, 37, who said he has been in business for about three years, acknowledged Sunday that medical marijuana is largely unregulated. But he also said he has taken steps to run a legitimate operation, making security investments and opening his door to checks from the DEA and local fire officials.
He said it took him 18 months to two years to find his current location, and if he had to move again, it would bankrupt his operation. In a worst-case scenario, he is prepared to move his collective to Tumwater, he said.
Schneider acknowledged that Northwest Collective and Cannabis Outreach were in business before the city adopted rules for collectives. Still, the letters were sent.
“They are indicating they are collectives and we have regulations for collectives,” Schneider said.
Schneider also pointed out that two other collectives have met the city’s requirements: Earth Alternatives on Sleater-Kinney Road and Natural 7 near the former Albertsons store at Pacific Avenue and Carpenter Road.