City approves permit for medical marijuana collective
March 23, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 2 p.m. March 23, 2012
The long process to establish a medical marijuana collective garden — and city rules for such operations — reached a milestone Friday, as planners approved a permit for GreenLink Collective to open along Northwest Gilman Boulevard.
The facility in a commercial building at 160 N.W. Gilman Blvd. is proposed as a place to process and deliver medical marijuana to qualified patients, offer classes and information, and sell supplies for people to produce and consume marijuana under a framework established by state law. GreenLink does not intend to grow marijuana in the space.
State law allows up to 10 qualifying patients to join together and form a collective garden of up to 45 plants, so long as the marijuana is not visible from public spaces.
Under the city code established last year, GreenLink must operate entirely inside the enclosed structure and cannot deliver marijuana in areas visible to the public.
The code requires a 1,000-foot buffer between a collective garden and a community center, school or another collective garden. The rules set a 500-foot buffer between a collective garden and park, preschool or daycare center. The ordinance also established a limit of a single collective garden per site.
Before opening, GreenLink must receive a collective garden safety license from the city. GreenLink operators must also install a security system and cameras onsite.
GreenLink is the only medical marijuana operation so far to receive a permit under medical marijuana legislation crafted last year.
The collective opened in late 2010 at a former daycare center near Issaquah Valley Elementary School in a neighborhood not zoned for commercial operations. Officials ruled against GreenLink’s initial application for a city business license.
The ruling started a monthslong process to establish rules for medical marijuana operations in Issaquah.
In June 2011, City Council members imposed a moratorium on collective gardens as local and state officials scrambled to ease patient access to medical marijuana. Changes in state law for medical marijuana also shifted last year.
Then, after listening to emotional testimony from medical marijuana users — and only a handful of complaints from opponents — the council adopted rules for medical marijuana operations in December 2011.
Washington Initiative 692, passed in 1998, allows people suffering from certain medical conditions to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana. Under state law, physicians can recommend — but not prescribe — the drug for patients.