After working toward crafting regulations that would allow businesses that grow, sell and process marijuana-related products to locate in the city, the Gig Harbor City Council put on the brakes Monday night.
The council unanimously approved a six-month moratorium prohibiting the businesses from opening within the city limits, despite the state’s plans to issue licenses before then.
The council in February approved interim 2,500-foot buffers to keep potential businesses from locating next to each other, eliminating the opportunity for a hub of marijuana-related business in the city. But additional confusion over where the stores would be allowed prompted the emergency declaration Monday.
City planner Lindsey Sehmel advised the council to pass the moratorium, saying she needed more time to look into buffers between the proposed businesses and “nontraditional school sites.”
The nontraditional site in question is the Community Transition Program, or CTP, on Soundview Drive. The program, run through the Peninsula School District, helps young adults with disabilities move from high school to achieving independence after their schooling ends when they’re 21.
State regulations dictate where businesses can be located relative to places where school-age children gather, but they don’t address programs such as CTP.
The council vote was a surprise, and because it was called an emergency moratorium, public comment was not heard before a decision was made. The vote caught at least one aspiring marijuana retailer off guard.
“The worst part of it is that they’ve led you to believe the entire time for the last year … that we welcome (retail marijuana) with open arms, that we don’t want litigation,” said Tedd Wetherbee, owner of The Gallery.
Wetherbee said he would speak to his attorneys about possible legal action.
The council will hold a public hearing on the matter at its June 9 regular meeting.
Brynn Grimley: 253-597-8467
Staff writer Karen Miller contributed to this report.
This story has been edited to reflect the correct meeting date.