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Thurston County Commission amends interim pot regulations

Thurston County pot regulations

Scenes from a public hearing on proposed changes to Thurston County's marijuana regulations on June 25, 2015. Video by Lisa Pemberton/staff writer
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Scenes from a public hearing on proposed changes to Thurston County's marijuana regulations on June 25, 2015. Video by Lisa Pemberton/staff writer

The Thurston County Commission unanimously voted 3-0 on Tuesday to approve a series of amendments to the county’s interim zoning regulations on where state-licensed marijuana can be grown, processed and sold.

According to Mike Kain, a land use planning manager for the county’s Resource Stewardship Department, the changes will:

•  Set a minimum parcel size of 5 acres for marijuana operations in residential zones. The previous lot size was 1 acre.



•  Increase the setback from property lines for marijuana operations to 100 feet from property line in residential zones. The earlier setback was 25 feet.



•  Require marijuana operations within nonresidential zones to be at least 100 feet from a residential zone boundary.



•  Prohibit new marijuana operations in agriculture zones, including Long Term Agriculture, Nisqually Agriculture and Agriculture District.



•  Eliminate existing setback exemptions for existing buildings used for marijuana operations.



•  Require operations to have odor-containment systems in place.



County commissioners first adopted interim zoning regulations in November 2013. More amendments, including ones that involve medical marijuana operations, will likely take place before the county’s final set of regulations is adopted, Kain said.

He said the new regulations won’t affect existing recreational pot operations and those tied to applications that have already been submitted, or vested, with the county. Since June 25, the county has received nine new applications for pot growing or processing businesses, Kain told the commissioners.

Commission chairwoman Cathy Wolfe said the county’s interim marijuana regulations were meant to change and fluctuate in an industry that was legalized a year ago in Washington state.

“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.”

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