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Marijuana retailers could arrive in Pullman

Pullman+Police+Chief+Gary+Jenkins+addresses+City+Council+about+marjiuana+regulations+Tuesday+Sept.+10.
Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins addresses City Council about marjiuana regulations Tuesday Sept. 10.

Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins addresses City Council about marjiuana regulations Tuesday Sept. 10.

Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins addresses City Council about marjiuana regulations Tuesday Sept. 10.

By Zack Briggs, Evergreen reporter

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The Pullman City Council discussed the possibility of marijuana retailers opening up shops during their meeting Tuesday night.

City Attorney Laura McAloon said Pullman residents can expect to see up to three marijuana retailers beginning mid-June of 2014.

On Sept. 4, the Washington State Liquor Control Board, proposed a list of rules to regulate and control the market of marijuana. The board also plans to implement more than 300 retail marijuana shops statewide based on population.

Businesspersons interested in setting up shop are required to go through an extensive process. McAloon said the first condition is that those interested must be a resident of Washington state.

“They must fill out an application with the state liquor control board, be subjected to a criminal background check, finger printing, and a financial investigation,” she said.

McAloon said the state liquor control board can accept or reject the submission, depending on whether the desired applicant fits their in-depth criteria.

The prospect of multiple marijuana retailers in Pullman, next to a university, aroused concern among the council members.

Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins recognizes the marijuana use on university property is prohibited, regardless of the 21-and-older law. He said this may bring about challenges for WSU when, and if, marijuana retailers come to Pullman. There is also an issue, he said, related to transactions of marijuana to neighboring Idaho.

“Being so close to the state line where the possession, manufacturing and distribution of marijuana is illegal in Idaho, yet it will be (legal) in Washington, so that’s something we’ll have to work with our law enforcement partners regarding illegal transportation of marijuana,” Jenkins said.

The Pullman Planning Commission is at the early stages of establishing zoning measures for residents who wish to produce marijuana.

“Generally what we do is we apply land use regulations that indicate where different activities can occur, under what circumstances they occur there, conditions so I would presume we would have something of that nature with regard to recreational marijuana facilities,” said Planning Director Pete Dickinson.

Dickinson said people would need a fence tall enough to obscure the view of marijuana plants from the public.

“We have regulations that would allow basically any height of fence,” he said.

Marijuana retailers can’t conduct business just anywhere, Dickinson said.

“Marijuana facilities must be located more than 1,000 feet, along a public way from different sensitive uses like parks, playgrounds, school, and childcare centers,” he said.

For Mayor Glenn Johnson, the topic of marijuana shops in commercial areas of Pullman is a reality city officials will continue to discuss.

“Again, this is all new territory so it’s going to be very interesting to see how it all plays out,” he said.

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Marijuana retailers could arrive in Pullman