Marijuana

Lacey Planning Commission: public hearing on pot set for Tuesday

The Lacey Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, looking for input on whether more needs to be done to regulate recreational pot near churches and known future school sites.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Aug. 19 at Lacey City Hall, 420 College St. S.E.

Here are the two proposed approaches:

-To continue allowing retail pot in zoning districts that already allow similar goods, such as liquor, with no additional location criteria except for that currently enforced by the state Liquor Control Board.

-To develop additional zoning criteria for retail pot, including specific requirements when in proximity to church facilities and future school sites.

The state Liquor Control Board is the state agency charged with enforcing recreational marijuana after voters approved Initiative 502 in November 2012. The initiative, as written, covered several things that pot businesses can’t be near, but it left out churches.

The planning commission was directed by Lacey City Council to address the issue of recreational marijuana after members of Turning Point Church on Marvin Road N.E. became concerned about several pot businesses being proposed for property next door to the church.

Turning Point Church offers addiction recovery services and wants to offer daycare services, church member John Bowser has said.

That led Bowser to speak out at a Lacey City Council meeting, and then his concerns were later discussed at a well attended council work session.

The council weighed several options at the work session, including marijuana moratoriums of varying length and an outright ban on marijuana, but finally agreed to send it to the planning commission, emphasizing churches and future school sites.

Christian Pang of DuPont, the managing partner of one of those pot businesses proposed for the property, announced prior to the work session that he was looking for a new site, wanting to be a good neighbor in the community rather than ruffle any feathers.

Lacey Planning Commission is an advisory body that makes recommendations to the council. Any final approval on retail pot would have to come from the council.

If you can’t attend the meeting, testimony can be sent by letter to Lacey Planning Commission, 420 College St. S.E., Lacey WA 98503, or by email to randrews@ci.lacey.wa.us.

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