The University Place City Council late Monday continued its measured march toward a decision on marijuana sales and production in the city.
The council, in its second study session on the subject of zoning rules for pot sales and processing facilities, accepted without amendment rules that the city’s planning commission had recommended.
It delayed a final vote on those regulations until at least the next council meeting.
The council still faces its largest decision on the marijuana question: Should it drop the ban on marijuana businesses it adopted more than two years ago? If it agrees to abolish that ban, the rules would apply to where a pot story or processing facility could be located.
City Attorney Steve Victor said he’ll likely recommend the council delay an up-or-down vote on marijuana until the Trump administration makes clear how it will treat sales. Federal law still bans marijuana sales, but several states, including Washington, have approved them.
Trump had campaigned against legal marijuana sales, but his administration has yet to adopt the see-no-evil stance toward sales that the Obama administration took.
The draft rules the council informally agreed to send forward for a formal vote had been the subject of study in University Place since September, first by the planning commission and then by the council.
1,000 feetSize of buffer zone a marijuana store would need to maintain from schools, playgrounds, day-cares and other types of facilities under proposed rules
The proposed rules would allow a marijuana retail store only on a small site in the mixed use zone in the city. Only a single retailer has a state license to sell cannabis in the city.
The commission’s draft rules would ban marijuana sales within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, recreation centers, child care facilities, public parks, public transit centers, libraries and game arcades that allow users under 21 to play.
The commission proposal further would prohibit marijuana stores within 1,000 feet of each other.
It also suggested less restrictive rules for pot producers and processors, which are closed to the public and protected by security measures. Under the commission’s plan, production facilities would have to be 1,000 feet from schools and playgrounds, but could be as close as 100 feet from the list of other places children might frequent.
The council at its last meeting had sought further advice from city officials about the prospects.
Victor told the council Monday that after “a very comprehensive review” of areas where marijuana sales are allowed, law enforcement couldn’t establish a correlation between marijuana sales and higher crime.
The security standards imposed on marijuana stores are more stringent than those imposed on liquor dealers by the state, he said.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663