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A notice is hereby given that the City of Lacey Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing on June 5, 2012 beginning at 5:35 PM at Lacey City Hall, 420 College St. S.E., in the Council Chambers, for consideration of the following item:

I. Topic: An ordinance to regulate Medical Cannabis Collective Gardens for patients qualified under state law. II. Background: Washington voters approved initiative 692 in 1998 to provide an
opportunity for authorized patients to use medical marijuana as an alternative for certain chronic debilitating diseases. Currently, a qualified patient can grow up to 15 plants of medical marijuana for their own personal medical use; 69.51A.040 RCW; See link to state law: In 2011, the legislature sent a bill (ESSSB 5073) to the Governor providing a detailed model for the state to set standards for the reviewing, licensing, production, and dispensing of medical cannabis to authorized patients; see link to ESSSB 5073: %20Passed%20Legislature/5073-S2.PL.pdfHowever, portions of the bill were vetoed by the Governor, based on concerns that state employees would necessarily be involved in an activity still considered illegal under Federal law. As a result of the veto, only a portion of the bill was ultimately adopted into law. One remaining portion was a section that provides for collective gardens (a collective of 10 or fewer authorized patients that are allowed to collectively grow their own medical marijuana), codified as RCW 69.51A.085; See link to section on collective gardens: cite=69.51a&full=true#69.51A.085 The burden is now on local jurisdictions to regulate these collective gardens without state oversight or support. Conflicts between state and Federal law on medical cannabis make this a difficult and controversial topic. To provide an opportunity for the city to study this topic the Lacey City Council adopted a moratorium on establishment of any collective gardens until the Lacey Planning Commission could review the issues and prepare recommendations for the Council on what regulations need to be put in place to properly protect community interests and provide appropriate opportunities for authorized patients to access medical cannabis. As part of the moratorium, the Council adopted an interim ordinance to regulate collective gardens that has provided a basis for the Planning Commissions review.

III. Work-sessions and development of alternatives: To

date, the Lacey Planning Commission has held a series of work-sessions with interested citizens.

The Planning Commission has undertaken a very broad review of this topic and has identified a number of options for approaching regulation. Each of the alternatives has both positive and negative implications. The Planning Commission has selected two options as the most preferred and is asking the public to comment on all of the options. Based upon work-sessions and the public hearing, the Planning Commission will prepare recommendations for Council that identifies the various alternatives and the benefits and liabilities of each. Once the recommendations are prepared the Council will consider identified alternatives to determine the option that best serves the needs of the Lacey community.

The options for consideration at the hearing include but are not limited to the following: 1. Access points for distribution of medical marijuana to authorized patients through a Cooperative business model with a Rotating customer base.
What - Represents a network of collective gardens to provide increased patient access and choice of products from multiple gardens at a centralized point. Positive aspect - Provides best access to patients in one downtown area. Negative aspect - Exploits a loophole in state law to attempt to maintain consistency with collective garden requirements, but does not meet the intent of state law for what a collective garden was intended to be. This results in an access point without state support and makes regulation problematic for local jurisdictions. This is NOT a preferred option at this time.

2. Collective gardens limited to specific commercial and industrial zones

What Collective garden with no rotating customer base. Positive aspect - Complies with state law. Negative aspect - Few patients if any are expected to be able to use this option because of expense of commercial property and rental. This will require most all patients to find medical marijuana through other means. This is a preferred option at this time.

3. Collective Gardens permitted in a patients home in Low Density 0-4 and 3-6 residential zones at a reduced scale and with conditions designed to mitigate impacts

What Collective gardens permitted in patients home under standards more restrictive than state requirements to minimize impacts to adjacent land use. Positive aspect - Available to more patients because the collective garden becomes more economically viable. Negative aspect Personal urban agricultural activities can only serve a small percentage of patients, standards that are more restrictive than state law further reduce opportunities, this will require many patients to find medical marijuana through other means. This is a preferred option at this time.

4. Focus on personal grows

What Rely on personal grows and organizations to help patients do this. Positive - No regulation necessary. This is currently happening now. Negative Urban agricultural activities are not suited to all patients. This will require many patients to find medical marijuana through other means. This is NOT a preferred option at this time.

5. Debra Fischers Model:

What legal collective gardens with a component to allow selling of overages at a farmers market. Positive aspect Good access for patients. Negative aspect Farmers market aspect is not consistent with either state or federal law. This is NOT a preferred option at this time.

Please see the City web site for further information with staff reports that discuss and compare the various alternatives, staff reports that review specific issues with the alternatives, and the minutes of the Planning Commission meetings.

IV. Provisions being considered by the Planning Commission for inclusion or deletion from the existing interim ordinance:
There are a number of important provisions being considered for addition or deletion from the ordinance based upon discussion and consideration at work-session meetings. These include:

1. Distance requirements from schools:

The current interim ordinance has a distance requirement of 1000 feet from schools. The Planning Commission is considering dropping this distance requirement because a collective garden is a legal activity under the laws of the state of Washington and will be required to be hidden from public view for security reasons.

2. Distance requirements from other gardens:

The current interim ordinance has a provision for a distance requirement from other collective gardens. The Planning Commission is considering dropping this standard because land resources for this use will be limited. Allowing gardens to be consolidated would allow use of land resources most appropriate for the use, such as a light industrial building complex, without forcing gardens into areas less appropriate.

3. Residential standards:
A number of changes would be required to the current interim ordinance to provide standards if a garden is permitted in a patients home, including but not limited to: Reduced scale, limited to 4 or less patients and 18 or less plants

The growing operation is confined within a single family detached residential structure. No outward indication is present outside the home, including anything visual or any smell from the grow, to indicate a collective garden exists on site. The collective garden within a residence shall be considered a subordinate use to the primary use of the home for a residence, Trip generation shall be limited to what is normal for a residential area. Recording surveillance equipment shall be installed for the garden. An alarm system shall monitor the collective garden. Dead bolts shall be installed to each entrance and exit to a collective garden.

The operator shall obtain an electrical permit from the City for the installation or alteration of the electrical system for the residential or accessory structure. A filter shall be used to eliminate smell from the grow operation.

4. General provision to have no indication of a garden to the public:

For security reasons the Planning Commission is considering a requirement that a collective garden must be hidden from public view with no indication, either visual or by smell, to the public that a garden exists at the site.

5. Single parcel ownership or condominium form of ownership required:

The current ordinance has a provision requiring that only one collective garden can be located on any single parcel. The Planning Commission is considering allowing a collective garden in commercial areas on individual condominium ownerships as well.

6. Regulatory involvement; Permit or no permit requirement:

Patients state there are gardens currently operating now that are kept unknown to the public for security reasons. Requiring permits would not change this, and patients would likely continue operation without permits to maintain privacy and to avoid providing public information on this activity. The Planning Commission is considering a non active regulation approach, to provide standards for citizens to meet, but not require a permit or inspect the activities unless a complaint is received. This would have the following advantages: Provide standards for citizens to follow when undertaking activity for a collective garden, much as urban agricultural activities are regulated. Not involving the city any more than necessary with activity in violation of federal law. There would be no application, so patients would not be required to compromise their privacy and garden locations could not be identified though a public information request for criminal intent.

V. Information Available:
The above summary is only an overview of the topic. For information on this item, interested individuals should contact the Community Development Department to discuss this topic with David R. Burns, AICP, Principal Planner and lead staff to the Planning Commission. In addition, the city web site has all of the agendas, minutes and supporting staff reports provided to the Planning Commission during work on this topic. The purpose of the public hearing is to give citizens an opportunity to testify to the Planning Commission regarding the above topic. Any interested citizen may present testimony to the

Planning Commission. For pertinent information regarding this matter please contact the City Community Development Department in person or by phoning 438-2637 or by email at If you need special accommodations to participate in this meeting, please call us at (360) 491-5642 by 10:00 a.m. the day before the meeting. Lacey Community Development Department David R. Burns, AICP, Principal Planner