Kent public hearing Tuesday about marijuana businesses ban

Tell the Kent City Council what you think about the city's ban against marijuana businesses during a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, in Council Chambers at City Hall, 220 Fourth Ave. S.

The council will consider renewing an ordinance to extend for another six months a marijuana zoning and business license moratorium.

Council members voted 4-3 in November to approve an ordinance to establish a six-month moratorium to prohibit the establishment, location, operation, licensing, maintenance or continuation of marijuana processors, producers and retailers claiming authorization under Chapter 69.50 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) or any other state law.

If renewed, the ban will be extended from May 27 to Nov. 7.

Voters statewide in 2012 approved Initiative 502 to allow recreational marijuana producers, processors and retailers. But city officials oppose the businesses because marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

The first state retail stores are expected to open this summer after the state Liquor Control Board issues licenses. The liquor board received more than 60 applications to open retail, processor or producer facilities in Kent. The state set a limit of three retail stores for Kent.

City officials plan to change land use codes later this year in order to have a permanent ban against marijuana businesses rather than continuing to pass an ordinance with a six-month ban. The city's Land Use and Planning Board will consider the code changes before submitting them to the council.

Editor's Note: This story has been changed to the correct public hearing date of Tuesday, April 15.

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