‘Recreational’ marijuana becomes commercial

Commission members clarify the regulations of marijuana production



The Whitman County Planning Commission discusses the change in distance that marijuana is allowed to be grown from certain residential lots. Pictured on the left: Chad Whetzel.

ANDREA GONZALEZ, Evergreen reporter

The Whitman County Planning Commission continued discussing the marijuana ordinance Wednesday. Changes to the draft were made in three chapters which are Purpose and Intent, Applicability and Development Standards.

Chad Whetzel, Whitman County planning commission chair, said the Purpose and Intent chapter will change the term “recreational marijuana” to “commercial marijuana.” The chapter establishes zoning regulations in the state, according to the draft.

Dave Gibney, Whitman County planning commission member, said adding “nor medical marijuana use” to the Applicability chapter would clarify the regulations of marijuana production. The means that the regulations stated in the chapter do not apply to medical marijuana.

Kathleen Lloyd, Whitman County resident, said she wants the commission to add current residences and residential lots to the Sensitive Uses section in Development Standards. This means marijuana cannot be grown 1,000 feet near those areas.

“I hope we can learn from Spokane County experience,” Lloyd said. “And not have to revisit writing an ordinance multiple times because marijuana operations were not kept at least 1,000 feet away from residences.”

Although the board listens to concerns, the concerns are not always met, she said. In her experience, people listen but do not go through with promises, she said.

An attendee said he would not want the residential areas to be near the light industrial and heavy industrial areas where there is marijuana production.

“That’s what creates these sort of problems right here,” the attendee said. “As residential encroaches on those things, it just creates more issues.”

There was a vote on whether or not to add residences to the Sensitive Uses section. The vote ended with four people in favor of not adding the residences to the Sensitive Uses section and three people not in favor.

Gibney said he wants to increase the distance from 1,000 feet to 1,500 feet in regards to municipalities and unincorporated rural communities. This means marijuana production would be an additional 500 feet away from those areas.

“The city may or may not like it but that’s not my job to make the city happy,” he said.

Gibney said the final draft will be recommended for the ordinance. He said the county’s commissioners will consider the revised draft.