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 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 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 Drive SW, Olympia.
After the public hearing, commissioners could adopt the permanent regulations or ask staff to make changes.
If approved, the new regulations will amend Thurston County code and affect unincorporated Thurston County, including the three Urban Growth Areas, officials say.
The latest round of proposed regulations includes 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.”
New buildings that are bigger than 8,000 square feet and used by marijuana operations would be subject to the State Environmental Policy Act Review, Chalem said.
He said the permanent regulations outline “clearer standards for noise, light and odor” for marijuana operations.
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, see co.thurston.wa.us/planning.
If you go
A hearing on proposed permanent zoning regulations for state-licensed recreational marijuana producers, processors and retailers in unincorporated Thurston County, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the County Courthouse, Building One, Room 280, at 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Olympia.
Written comments can be submitted by 4 p.m. Tuesday, at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Land Use and Permitting, Attn: Kraig Chalem, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Olympia, WA 98502.
For more information, call the Commissioners Office at 360-786-5440.