Local News

County hears public concerns about pot grow, store locations

SPOKANE, Wash. - Recreational marijuana is legal now but not everyone's happy about it, and some of those people met with the Spokane County planning commission Thursday to discussing zoning regulations for pot growers and retailers.

Though the state is in charge of licensing marijuana growers and retailers, "[t]he counties have the ability to adopt their own regulations for production and processing and retail sale," John Pederson with the planning commission said.

As it currently sits, the zoning laws in Spokane County are only temporary, and have evolved over time through public hearings, Pederson added.

If you ask a grower or seller, they will tell you the zoning laws are restrictive enough as it is, but county residents are coming forward with more request to restrict where they can grow and sell.

"I find that it's unreasonable to put that sort of burden on us just because it is something new and their not accustomed to it," grower Crystal Oliver said.

One of the biggest concerns expressed by people is the close proximity to families; to many the 300 feet barrier that separates homes from pot grows and stores is not enough.

"We have told our kids it's legal it's okay, it's not okay," Ken Massender said.

Massender lives a quarter of a mile from a pot grow operation near Mt. Spokane, and he's worried its presence in his neighborhood will be a bad influence on kids.

"I think it does entice the criminals to come to the rural areas," he said.

Oliver is both a grower and a mother and she doesn't believe her family's new business is harming her children. She said if anything it's protecting them and the future of others.

"We take marijuana away from the drug dealers and we put it into a tightly regulated market and it's better for our children," she explained.

The planning commission will take all of the public comment into consideration and, on December 11, will make a zoning recommendation to county commissioners, who will ultimately make any decision on where grow operations and stores can be placed within the county.