Kirkland Sets Six-Month Moratorium on Medical Marijuana Collective Gardens to Study Amended State Law

State Law Effective Today; City Council Holds Public Hearing August 2

At its July 19, 2011 meeting, the Kirkland City Council enacted a six-month zoning moratorium that prohibits the licensing, establishment, maintenance, or continuation of any medical marijuana “collective garden” within city limits. The City’s actions are in response to amendments passed in this year’s legislative session to Washington’s existing medical marijuana law. The amendments, as contained in Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill (E2SSB) 5073, go into effect July 22, 2011. The City’s moratorium will allow the City to consider whether to zone medical marijuana “collective gardens” away from schools and parks, whether to permit them in residential areas and whether to limit the number of “collective gardens” on a single property. The City Council will hold a required public hearing on August 2, 2011, at 7:30 p.m., Kirkland City Hall, 123 5th Avenue to receive public comment on Ordinance 4316 which established the moratorium.

A medical marijuana “collective garden” is an area or garden where qualifying patients engage in the production, processing, transporting, and delivery of marijuana for medical use as defined in a 1998 state law (RCW 69.50). In the 2011 Washington State legislative session, E2SSB 5073 was passed which broadened the scope of the State’s medical marijuana law. Governor Gregoire vetoed 36 of the 57 sections of E2SSB 5073. She did approve the allowance of medical marijuana “collective gardens.” Some of the sections the Governor vetoed were in response to a warning by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that the bill would place state workers who implement state regulations related to medical marijuana at risk of criminal prosecution. The City is concerned that this warning also applies to city personnel.

At the August 2 Public Hearing, the City Council will determine whether to take no action and allow the moratorium to continue for six months, request additional findings of fact be prepared, or vote to end the moratorium imposed by City Ordinance 4316. For more information, contact the City Manager’s Office at 425-587-3001.