Lacey council set to discuss recreational marijuana following Thursday meeting

Members of a Lacey church and those from the surrounding community are expected to attend Thursday’s Lacey City Council meeting, likely to share their concerns about a marijuana-related issue that was raised two weeks ago.

Then, and again on Wednesday, Turning Point Church member and Jubilee resident John Bowser shared his frustration about several recreational retail marijuana businesses that have been proposed next door to the church. The church is at 3525 Marvin Road N.E., while the retail businesses have been proposed for a building at 3601 Marvin Road N.E.

Not only is the church next door -- a church that offers addiction recovery services through a program called Celebrate Recovery and that wants to offer daycare -- but the proposed marijuana retailers are close to a school bus stop and a community park that serves a nearby neighborhood, Bowser said.

But Bowser also understands that I-502 -- the initiative that was passed by voters to approve recreational marijuana retailers, processors and growers -- has some gray areas.

For one, the authors of the initiative did not include churches, state Liquor Control Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter said Wednesday.

“We had to go with what was in the law,” he said.

Here’s how I-502 reads: “No licensed marijuana producer, processor, or retailer shall be placed or maintained within 1,000 feet of the perimeter of a school grounds, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, or library, or any game arcade admission to which is not restricted to persons aged 21 years or older.”

The same rule applies to a “public transit vehicle or public transit shelter, or on or in a publicly owned or operated property.”

But there’s no mention of a church. And although there’s a community park nearby, it does not meet the state’s definition of a public park, Bowser said.

Here’s how the state defines public park: “Public park means an area of land for the enjoyment of the public, having facilities for rest and/or recreation, such as a baseball diamond or basketball court, owned and/or managed by a city, county, state, federal government, or metropolitan park district.”

But what about playground?

Here’s how the state defines playground: "Playground means a public outdoor recreation area for children, usually equipped with swings, slides, and other playground equipment, owned and/or managed by a city, county, state, or federal government.”

Although several recreational retail businesses have applied for licenses in Lacey, the city, under the law, can only have a maximum of two retailers. So the state Liquor Control Board has created a lottery system and ranked the applicants and will license them in that order, spokesman Carpenter said. Thielen Brothers Enterprises, which has the No. 1 lottery ranking, has proposed a retail marijuana business at 3813 Pacific Ave. S.E., Lacey, while the No. 2 ranking is held by Natural Mystics at 3601 Marvin Road N.E., unit B, liquor control board data show.

Contact information for Natural Mystics was not immediately available.

If for some reason those businesses did not get approved, then the state would move on to the next business in the ranking. Lacey has a total of nine, including four more at 3601 Marvin Road N.E., the data show.

The result is that the Lacey City Council wants to discuss “permitting and siting of recreational marijuana” in a work session following the regular Thursday meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.