• Issaquah considers temporary ban on recreational marijuana

    By: Graham Johnson


    ISSAQUAH, Wash. - The Issaquah City Council on Tuesday night will consider a temporary ban on recreational marijuana businesses, legalized by Initiative 502.

    City officials said a six-month moratorium would put off any zoning decisions until after the state finalizes rules for the industry.

    "This also gives us more time to get input from our community to find out what they'd like to see here in Issaquah," said city spokesperson Autumn Monahan.

    The city has two medical marijuana dispensaries. At Eastside Greenlight, owner Matthew Leonard says he's still deciding whether to try to enter the recreational market. He supports the city's cautious approach.

    "There's a breakneck speed that this is happening. It's a lot for local governments to absorb, how are they going to deal with this. They've never dealt with it before," Leonard said.

    Issaquah had a similar moratorium before zoning medical marijuana in 2011. City officials say they'd like the same process to happen again.

    The Association of Washington Cities says statewide, several cities are taking a similar, cautious approach, waiting for the state to finalize the rules.

    Other cities have banned pot businesses altogether. Some, like Seattle, are actively writing zoning rules.

    The Liquor Control Board plans to issue marijuana licenses regardless of local zoning.

    And the board suggests cities that go too far in thwarting legal marijuana could be sued by companies denied city permits.

    In July, board chair Sharon Foster also offered this warning: "Where there isn't a retail market, the black market thrives."



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