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Pot moratorium extended another six months

YAKIMA – Yakima County commissioners yesterday (Tuesday) extended its moratorium on the retail sales, production and processing of recreational marijuana by six months.

Commissioners last September adopted a six-month moratorium as they considered rules, regulations and zoning ordinances for marijuana businesses in accordance with I-502.

On January 21, 2014, the commissioners directed county staff to prepare amendments to its ordinances, prohibiting the sales, production and processing of recreational marijuana in unincorporated areas of the county.

As those amendments are being prepared, the moratorium approved last September is set to expire next month.

Commissioner Rand Elliott said, “There are a lot of things that must be done in terms of amending our ordinances.”

He said the process of making amendments to zoning and business ordinances is complex, involving reviews at the state level.

The commissioners, Elliott said, have asked county staff what changes will need to be made to amend the county ordinances.

“We would also have to go through this process if we allow these operations,” he said.

At yesterday’s meeting there were a number of individuals who approached the Yakima County Commission, stating they were ready to open marijuana businesses.

“We tried to keep the discussion on the matter of the moratorium,” said Elliott.

He said the process of developing regulations is not as simple as the commissioners and business owners would like.

The moratorium will be extended until this coming September.

Yakima County Commissioners Rand Elliott and Mike Leita approved the extension. Commissioner Kevin Bouchey was not present for the meeting.

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