Neighbors petition against third pot shop in Otis Orchards

Neighbors petition against third pot shop in Otis Orchards

It’s home to about 6,500 people near the state line — and it’s also home to two pot shops. The possibility of a third marijuana store in Otis Orchards is sparking a big controversy.

Nirvana Cannabis Company near Airway Heights is looking to transfer its license and store to Otis Orchards and dozens are rallying against the idea.

If the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board approves the license transfer, it would mark Otis Orchards’ third pot shop. Apex Cannabis and Primo Cannabis are about two miles from where Nirvana Cannabis Company would stand, if approved.

The state Liquor and Cannabis Board allots a certain number of marijuana retail licenses for each jurisdiction of Washington state. Since Nirvana would move its license from one area of unincorporated Spokane County to another in Otis Orchards, there would be no net gain in the number of licenses.

“Being in unincorporated Spokane County, we realized that we have to find our own voice, because we don’t have a mayor or a city council to speak for us,” said petitioner Brook Dormaier.

Dormaier believes the two existing shops are enough to serve the small town.

“This is not an argument for or against cannabis. That’s off the table, we’ve already voted on that,” Dormaier said. “We are adequately served. If you want to get cannabis products, you can get cannabis products within 5 minutes of anywhere in Otis Orchards.”

She, along with other petitioners, say the third pot shop would pose a safety issue by putting more cars on the road, since the shop would be close to the state line. If approved, Nirvana would move into a building on East Wellesley, across from a school bus stop. The road does not have any sidewalks.

“This proposed location is directly across from seven bus stops. So kids will literally be within 30 feet of this cannabis retailer,” Dormaier said.

Dormaier and several others have written letters to the state Liquor and Cannabis Board, as well as to Spokane County commissioners. Commissioner Josh Kerns said that feedback led him to write to the board as well.

“There’s certain locations around a community that make sense for a shop like that to put up,” Kerns said. “But there’s other parts of the community where it just doesn’t make sense. And I think this is one where I don’t personally feel that would fit that small community.”

Kerns told KXLY4 the state Liquor and Cannabis Board has approved four previous applications for marijuana growers and retail stores throughout the county, despite the county denying those applications due to zoning regulations.

Dormaier believes this won’t be the last time neighbors will petition against another pot shop.

“I guarantee you that others are looking to make the move out here so it is my hope that we would make an example and say ‘nope, this isn’t going to work,’ but I guarantee you that we’re going to have to do it again,” Dormaier said.

Public comment on the issue will be accepted by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board until Oct. 4. Nirvana Cannabis Company did not respond to KXLY4’s request for a comment.