Marijuana issue could return to Gig Harbor ballot

Gig Harbor is gearing up for a possible advisory vote on whether to allow retail marijuana sales in the city of more than 7,000 residents.

The results of the public vote would be nonbinding, but would give the City Council insight into the mood of local residents two years after Washington voters approved Initiative 502 legalizing recreational marijuana. Around 54 percent of Gig Harbor residents who cast a ballot on I-502 were in favor of it.

“I’ll admit that letting the public decide ... would be fascinating,” council member Casey Arbenz said at Monday night’s council meeting.

The council will decide at its July 28 meeting whether to put an advisory vote on the November ballot.

With Gig Harbor’s emergency moratorium on the manufacture, processing and sale of recreational marijuana due to expire in the fall, the council is running short on time to make its next move.

Council member Michael Perrow shared his concern Monday that having an advisory ballot would drag the issue on and on.

“The reality is we could be sitting here again hashing out this stuff,” he said.

A Gig Harbor entrepreneur who secured high numbers in the state’s allocation of marijuana lottery licenses wants to open a retail pot and art business, called The Gallery, on Soundview Drive. He has been outspoken in his frustrations over the city’s delay in allowing marijuana sales.