Longview council struggling with zoning for medical marijuana gardens

2013-01-11T20:30:00Z 2014-01-07T20:56:33Z Longview council struggling with zoning for medical marijuana gardensBy Amy M.E. Fischer / The Daily News Longview Daily News
January 11, 2013 8:30 pm  • 

The Longview City Council wants to keep collective medical marijuana gardens as far as possible from residential areas, trailer parks, schools, parks and churches — but legally it must allow them somewhere.

City Attorney Jim McNamara on Thursday warned the council it can’t prohibit the gardens by adopting so many zoning restrictions that there’s no place left to put them. Many cities have tried to do this with adult entertainment, resulting in lawsuits, McNamara said.

The state legalized the collective gardens in July 2011, but the city banned them until March 22 to give it time to adopt zoning regulations.

The Longview Planning Commission has recommended allowing the gardens in areas zoned light industrial and mixed use commercial/industrial. The commission proposed siting gardens at least 500 feet from mobile home parks and 300 feet from residential lots. Thursday, Councilman Mike Wallin proposed extending the buffers in both cases to 1,000 feet, the same minimum distance from the gardens the Planning Commission recommended for the property lines of schools, churches and parks.

The council asked city staff to create a map that outlines Wallin’s proposed 1,000-foot buffer zones to see what land would remain available for the gardens. The council already had a city map with the originally proposed buffers.

Looking at the original map, it appears expanding the buffers would rule out at least two industrial areas for garden use, limiting them to the Mint Farm Industrial Park and land along Industrial Way between Oregon Way and California Way.

City Planning Manager Steve Langdon reminded the council the collective gardens would be allowed only indoors inside a solid building with lockable doors. The gardens could contain up to 45 plants and occupy a maximum of 150 square feet, which is 15 by 10 feet.

Initiative 502, which Washington voters approved in November by 10 percentage points, allows people 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot for recreational use. However, for now, residents can’t legally grow their own marijuana unless they have a medical marijuana card. The purpose of the collective gardens is to allow medical marijuana patients to join forces on marijuana gardens. All collective members must be either a medical marijuana patient or their caregiver.

Under I-502, the state’s liquor control board has a year to set up the new marijuana market for recreational users, including designating state-approved retailers.

Longview resident Ken Spring urged the council to challenge the medical marijuana garden statute in court, saying he doesn’t want people “driving drunk on marijuana.”

“I think this would be worthwhile to opt out of the marijuana thing altogether,” Spring said. “The people of Longview would be very proud of you if you did that.”

Langdon noted that medical marijuana has been legal in Washington since 1999, and that the legalization of collective growing operations to supply medical marijuana patients is a separate issue from voters legalizing pot in November for recreational use.

Copyright 2015 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. Steve Sarich
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    Steve Sarich - January 11, 2013 10:30 pm
    Funny....which part of the stay issued by the State Supreme Court against Kent did the city officials of Longview not read?

    Looks like one more city looking to spend taxpayer's money because they insist on violating the state law.

    I think I'll open a collective garden in Longview and see how they plan to enforce this non-existent version of the state law.

    What IS IT with all of these towns whose residents support medical cannabis....and then elect total idiots to the city council? I
  2. loretta
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    loretta - January 12, 2013 8:48 am
    So, Spring wants the city to spend time and money to challenge state law? Time and money we don't have to spare? This guy has real problems.
    As far as the medical gardens: If they're already in a locked building what difference does it make where they are? People are already growing MJ inside all over the city anyway. Just another waste of time and money to make all these regulations.
  3. bretharte
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    bretharte - January 12, 2013 11:11 am
    If mj is so important to all of you enlightened people, why does it matter where you grow it? More stoned out kids, no ambition, freeloaders, that' just we need! Not to mention all of the stoned adults !
  4. PuffY
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    PuffY - January 12, 2013 11:55 am
    Steve Sarich i would love to see someone with your influence come take on this area's good ol boy network! come do it i will help!
  5. extrucker
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    extrucker - January 12, 2013 12:48 pm
    its none of there bizz where i grow they need to remember its law now we can grow smoke our own sound like anthor non issue wasting our tax money again
  6. GGMU
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    GGMU - January 12, 2013 2:31 pm
    Want to place a tank of carcinogenic petrochemicals underground? No problem. Open a factory that spews dioxins in to the water and air? We can accommodate that. Drive a vehicle that creates CO by the ton? Of course. Open a business that sells a neurotoxin that damages every organ in the human body by the glass? Why sure, in fact sell it at the grocery store, and advertise it on television, go right ahead. GROW A PLANT? You must be joking!!!! We can't be having that. That's dangerous.
  7. crowsfoot
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    crowsfoot - January 12, 2013 4:02 pm
    The property the city let the church be built on over in the supposed business- light industrial area by Home Depot would have been great and then it would have actually produced some property taxes.
  8. kaervek
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    kaervek - January 12, 2013 8:44 pm
    "The gardens could contain up to 45 plants and occupy a maximum of 150 square feet, which is 15 by 10 feet."

    Hahaha! 15' x 10'?

    Get out of here with that dopey excuse of a "collective garden" space. I wonder what the fire chief would say for such laughably small spaces, filled with electrical equipment, water, and up tp 45 plants & the people tending to it all?

    Are you high, Steve Langdon?
  9. kaervek
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    kaervek - January 12, 2013 8:50 pm
    Ken Spring - you should move to Texas, where draconian drug laws & road-side body-cavity-searches are sure to keep you sleeping at night!


    Now hurry off, sonny - you might get there before the Summer heat sets in!
  10. babyz65
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    babyz65 - January 13, 2013 4:32 am
    What a GREAT comment! A bit of well said, common sense......
  11. Papillon
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    Papillon - January 14, 2013 3:20 pm
    Ken Spring has always had the idea he did not have to follow the rules so to speak. The voters of Washington State approved the use of Marijuana so get over it.
    If it is such a problem trying to figure out how to handle this new legalization why not look at what is done in Amsterdam. It has been legal there and you can go into a coffee shop and order it and smoke it or ingest it as long as you are an adult. It is considered a soft drug and I totally agree. Alcohol is much more harmful.
  12. cakemaker2000
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    cakemaker2000 - January 14, 2013 4:37 pm
    I think where to grow it is no longer the issue it is how to tax it and where to spend the revenues that they should be looking into. It is going to generate a lot of money , money the state needs. Statistically many more people are injured and or killed by drunk drivers and yet you can get hard alcohol at walmart. Thousands are killed in drinking and driving accidents . Alcohol is much more dangerous.it is a CNS depressant. pot heads just giggle and eat.
  13. DW111
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    DW111 - January 15, 2013 1:43 pm
    There will be many unintended consequences to this new law. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out, but bottom line is we are gonna have more gooey green bud in town soon!
  14. OG-The Kermit
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    OG-The Kermit - January 18, 2013 5:10 am
    Hey check it out folks if youve been waitin on legalizatoin of weed for all my life and the responciblity of another direction of the tax money s involved with our lovely state and government I propose my share of the tax money could be spent on a new road for strickly the TRUCKERS Yes them big trucks separate ' cars from trucks Think about it even the homeless could be concidered over a billion dollars each year per state in tax revenues Whats your Ideas after waiting 50 years plus
  15. Hawkeye Pierce
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    Hawkeye Pierce - January 19, 2013 7:25 pm
    Poor Ken Spring. Legal pot, gun control, a black man in the White House and the rise of union power. This is America. Love it or leave it.
  16. worriedone
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    worriedone - January 23, 2013 6:19 am
    Mr. Springs, How many "driving while on MJ" do you know about? I'd like stats and proof. Time for you to educate yourself. It is the law of the State and you're trying to break that law? Ridiculous. Medical Marijuana is better then the morphine addicts or the oxy addicts or even those addicted to Alcohol. The tax monies alone could help the schools, road improvements and pull more revenue into the community. Grow hemp to, save trees it is good for almost everything. Educate yourself. Sillywaste
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