City considers permit for medical marijuana garden

July 10, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

City planners could allow a medical marijuana collective garden in Issaquah, months after another medical marijuana operation opened to patients.

The nonprofit medical marijuana operation Eastside Greenlight Collective Garden applied for a city permit to open in a commercial building at 230 N.E. Juniper St. — a mixed-use area near the Lakeside Industries quarry north of Interstate 90.

The marijuana operation does not intend to grow marijuana in the space. The applicant proposed minimal change to the unit, if any is needed.

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.

Get involved

Send comments on the Eastside Greenlight Collective Garden medical marijuana operation application to Jason Rogers, Development Services Department, P.O. Box 1307, Issaquah, WA 98027-1307. Or email comments to JasonR@ci.issaquah.wa.us. The deadline for comments is 5 p.m. July 20.

Under the city code established last year, Eastside Greenlight 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, Eastside Greenlight must receive a collective garden safety license from the city. Eastside Greenlight operators must also install a security system and cameras onsite.

City leaders established rules for medical marijuana collective gardens after GreenLink Collective opened in late 2010.

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.

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.

GreenLink later completed the steps outlined in the municipal ordinance and relocated to a commercial space along Northwest Gilman Boulevard. The city approved the nonprofit organization’s permit application March 23.

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.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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