Town still saying no to pot businesses

By Pat Jenkins The Dispatch The Town Council still believes Eatonville is better off without licensed marijuana businesses and is planning to keep it that way well into next year. A moratorium on opening and operating such businesses in the town, first enacted by the council in December 2013 and renewed every six months since then, has been extended again. Faced with an expiration of the ban at the end of this year, council members voted Nov. 28 to keep it in place for another six months. It now is scheduled to expire or be renewed by May 28, unless council members cancel it before then. The reason for the moratorium, in the view of the council and the town administration, is the same as when the prohibition went into effect three years ago: There are questions about how Initiative 502, the statewide ballot measure approved by voters in 2012 that made licensed pot shops and processors legal, and subsequent court rulings on the law can be carried out locally; and there is concern over the effect marijuana would have on land-use issues and the community. Keeping the moratorium in effect prohibits the town from approving any permits for retail sales and processing of marijuana. No such businesses have been proposed in Eatonville since state-licensed recreational marijuana sales became legal. Eatonville is among cities and towns that have formally asked the state to share tax revenue from marijuana businesses in order to help pay for enforcing the law. The Eatonville Planning Commission has recommended land-use zoning that would give state-licensed retail vendors a place to do business under tight restrictions. The council-backed moratorium trumps that recommendation. Licensed pot businesses are operating in unincorporated areas of Pierce County.


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