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Public hearing Wednesday on collective gardens for medical cannabis in Poulsbo

POULSBO – Residents will have an opportunity to share their opinions about the city’s moratorium on collective gardens for medical cannibis, at a public hearing Nov. 2, 7:15 p.m., in City Hall.

Collective gardens, unlike dispensaries, are currently allowed under state law. However, regulation by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health do not take effect until January 2013, according to Section 901 of Senate Bill 5073. The law also states that patients are allowed to grow up to 15 plants privately and noncommercially.

A collective garden is defined by the bill as no more than 45 plants or 72 ounces of “usable cannabis.”

The City Council imposed the moratorium Sept. 7 until planning staff could update zoning regulations to accommodate the gardens. At the time, Associate Planner Alyse Nelson said that under current zoning laws, the city doesn't have a way to regulate a collective marijuana garden that is allowed under state law.

In September, the council discussed the potential negative impacts of gardens, such as property values and safety concerns, that would be addressed in new zoning ordinances.

Complicating matters is the fact that medical cannabis is legal under Washington state law, along with 15 other states nationwide, but all marijuana is illegal under federal law.

At the City Council meeting, Deputy Police Chief Wendy Davis will be administered the oath of office, the council will consider third-quarter amendments to the 2011 Budget, will set the property tax levy for 2012, and will select art pieces for display in City Hall.

The city will collect $2,067,897 in property tax revenue in 2011. The proposed .82 percent increase in 2012 will generate an additional $16,940, according to city documents.

Read the agenda and supporting documents at www.cityofpoulsbo.com/council/documents/2011-11-02/20111102_agenda.pdf

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