Marijuana regulations up for discussion before Thurston County commissioners

Thurston County residents will once again debate whether to extend recreational marijuana regulations that have been in place since November 2013.

The discussion will take place Tuesday at a public hearing held by the Thurston County Board of Commissioners. The hearing will start at 5:30 p.m. in Room 280 of the Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1.

Planning Manager Mike Kain said county staff will recommend that commissioners renew the interim regulations for another six months without changes. He said they’ve encountered few problems with the current rules.

“I can say I think it’s working pretty well, and for that reason we are not planning on making any changes,” Kain said.

Under the regulations, recreational production and processing are permitted in most zones that permit agriculture or industrial uses, and marijuana retail is allowed in most commercial zones. Medical marijuana, however, is unregulated.

Kain said the lack of medical marijuana regulations may generate some comments from meeting attendees.

“We may have some people asking us to incorporate medical marijuana into the regulations, or to enact a moratorium,” Kain said.

The goal is to enact medical marijuana regulations when a more permanent, comprehensive marijuana ordinance is approved, he said. That should happen in the next six to 12 months.

Ideally, medical marijuana regulations would be based on a Legislature-approved update to state regulations, Kain said.

Comments can be submitted to the commissioners orally and in written form at the hearing. To learn more about the interim regulations, go to thurstonplanning.org and click on the April 7 meeting link under “News and Links.”