Washington County’s Board of Commissioners finally settled the hot-potato issue of regulating medical marijuana dispensaries on Tuesday night, with commissioners voting 4-1 to approve Ordinance 792. The ordinance amends the county development code relating to medical marijuana dispensaries.
County Sheriff Pat Garrett testified to the panel that the county’s land-use department had written “a very well-crafted ordinance” that limits dispensary hours to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; extends the distance between dispensaries from 1,000 to 2,000 feet; prohibits dispensaries in neighborhood commercial districts; and insures that frontage of dispensaries are visible and well-lit.
So far, there are four state-licensed dispensaries in Washington County and one that “prefers to be anonymous,” said Garrett.
Commissioners disagreed in recent weeks over regulations they could make at the county level to a voter-approved state law. Land-use staff continued to tinker with land-use rules, following the board’s direction.
However, Nov. 1 is the end of ordinance season. Tuesday’s meeting was the last opportunity for commissioners to regulate the dispensaries before a moratorium is lifted next spring.
“I would have liked to have seen background checks on dispensary operators and limits on amounts sold,” said Commissioner Roy Rogers. “In a perfect world, we would make the changes. But this is our one chance to have some input.”
Chairman Andy Duyck abstained from the vote, while commissioners Roy Rogers, Greg Malinowski, Dick Schouten and Bob Terry voted in favor.
The vote has no effect on recreational marijuana, which is on the Nov. 4 ballot.
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