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Moratorium on medical marijuana gardens OK'd

Collective gardens for medical marijuana patients have been legalized by the state legislature, but Monday the Sunnyside City Council approved a six-month moratorium on allowing them within city limits.

The Sunnyside council is not the first to approve a moratorium. Many other cities across the state have also approved moratoriums, including Grandview.

The moratoriums are being put in place because much of the state law is still ambiguous and the legislature is expected to review the law in the next legislative session.

The law allows up to 10 qualifying medical marijuana patients to grow and deliver up to 45 marijuana plants for medical use.

"The state needs more time to iron out the intricacies," said Sunnyside Deputy Police Chief Phil Schenck.

He said there have already been issues with medical marijuana gardens in Sunnyside. There have been thefts and a traffic accident caused by a thief attempting to flee.

The city of Yakima, said Schenck, has had a number of robberies, burglaries and break-ins as a result of collective gardens targeted by criminals.

"It's been known to be dangerous," said Schenck.

The moratorium makes it illegal for anyone to establish a collective garden in the city of Sunnyside for the next six months.

The moratorium gives the legislature time to work through the law and gives the city time to consider its options.

A public hearing on the matter has been scheduled for Monday, Nov. 14, as a result of the council's approval of the moratorium.

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