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Local residents sound off on state's pot plan

SPOKANE, Wash. - Pot forum

The initial high of a pot law may have worn off for some people, but for Spokane County, Thursday night was round two as people were able to voice their opinions of the Liquor Control Board's initial marijuana draft rules at the Spokane Convention Center.

While some people asked questions, some cities are trying to find answers.

"We're going to have to deal with this issue, I think, for the next couple years," Cheney Mayor Tom Trulove said.

Cities like Cheney have made a map using the parameters of Initiative 502 to find where these pot stores might go. They can't be within 1000 feet of schools, churches, or playgrounds. Using that formula, there is not one place zoned right now for a shop to go.

"Relieves a lot of citizens, a lot of residents who just don't want that next door," Trulove said.

Other cities are finding few locations that will work. Medical Lake has one potential site for a store. Liberty Lake has a few. Pullman could have several stores in the north and south ends of town. In Spokane, there are a number of places that would work, including areas on North Division and near Airway Heights.

"If they're following the rules of the laws that were created by the initiative, that doesn't allow them within a certain distance of schools and parks, then we would intend to honor that because that's the law," said Washington State Liquor Control Board member Chris Marr.

Cities who try to ban marijuana businesses just because they don't want it, won't have a choice. State law requires cities to accommodate the potential business owners.

"We would intend to issue the license and then it would be up to that individual to obtain a local business license to operate," Marr said. "Now, if a city or county does not issue that license, it's entirely possible it may need to go to court to be resolved."

The proposed rules could be adopted August 14, but the board can also decide to take more time and refine them.