Panorama view of Spokane, Washington.

James Hawley

Spokane County Lawmakers Pass Sneaky Moratorium on Outdoor Cannabis

Officials in Spokane County, Washington have passed a local ordinance banning outdoor cannabis growing — without adding it to the commissioners’ agenda preventing public comment, NWCN reports. The measure doesn’t prevent current licensed cultivators from operating, but it does prevent them from expanding and considerations for new farms will be put on hold.

“Passing an emergency ordinance to an industry that is employing hundreds of people in Spokane County is maybe a misstep on our county commissioners,” Crystal Oliver, owner of Washington’s Finest Cannabis said in the report. “Outdoor cannabis farming is more sustainable is requires less energy and waste.”

County Commissioner Al French said that lawmakers are still learning how to conduct the program and trying to adjust as new information is available. He said the emergency moratorium is necessary because of 200 citizen complaints on 44 cannabis growing facilities – mostly related to the odor. French said the county and the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency have spent about $250,000 to deal with complaints and public health issues related to outdoor cannabis grows.

“Majority of voters were inside the cities where the outdoor grows don’t happen,” he said. “Out in an unincorporated area where the grows happen, they voted overwhelmingly not to support the measure so they are the ones that are having to deal with the impacts, unintended, with the industry.”

French insisted that the moratorium was only temporary and the commissioners are trying to protect both the industry and public.

“Our goal is to find a solution not to stop the economic development not to stop the industry, but to find a solution,” he said.

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