Since Initiative 502 passed four years ago, Spokane County has been a state-wide leader in the production of recreational marijuana - a status that might soon change. In what came as a surprise to many involved, the Spokane County Commissioners approved a six month moratorium on all new outdoor grows this week. The reasoning behind the temporary ban is relatively simple; neighbors to production sites can't stand the odor.
"When I've got property owners that are adjacent to a business and can't go outside and enjoy any recreational activities, that's a problem" explains Commissioner Al French. "And that's not a political problem, that's an odor problem."
Local cannabis producers take a different stance.
"I would say odors are a big part of rural living," describes marijuana farmer Crystal Oliver. "I live across from an equestrian center, I often smell horse manure."
Oliver, who owns Deer Park's "Washington's Finest Cannabis," believes the temporary ban could have permanent repercussions.
"California is already treating marijuana production like any other agricultural product. When cannabis becomes an interstate tradeable commodity, we're going to be at a disadvantage."
The ban is designed to give Commissioners time to find viable solutions to the problem. The issue will be addressed again this spring.
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