Poulsbo approves retail cannabis

2 businesses maximum, one in each zoning district

The Poulsbo City Council approved to allow one retail cannabis store in both the Viking Avenue and Highway 305 zoning districts with buffers at its Feb. 15 meeting.

The motion passed 5-1 with Councilmember Ed Stern voting against and Councilmember Pam Crowe abstaining.

“I continue to be concerned about security risks, starting with the fact that the activity is outside the federal banking system,” Stern said. “We have seen an increased amount of break-ins and criminal activity associated with the opportunity to not only access cash but simple theft of the product itself. That doesn’t mean it can’t be mitigated.”

Stern mentioned that the nearby Suquamish cannabis shop Agate Dreams has a “highly secure facility that I’m not sure the private sector can replicate on its own. I could be proven wrong on that. We’ve invested heavily in substance and addiction treatment. The message we’re sending could be counterintuitive. The revenue in my mind is negligible at best.”

Councilmember Gary McVey responded by reiterating that cannabis is legal in Washington state and has been for almost a decade. He also said he’s heard from local seniors and individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who use cannabis to help with symptoms and to help them sleep.

“I think the citizens of Poulsbo should be allowed to avail themselves of a legal product within our city limits,” he said. “It does help us with some additional revenue and that revenue is required to go toward drug education and police enforcement.

“We’ve heard from our police chief that he does not have grave concerns about the security of the sales and those issues can be mitigated. I think there’s a significant sector of our populous that wants us to move forward on this.”

During public comments toward the end of the meeting, Annette Atkinson, owner of HWY 420 in Silverdale and Bremerton, announced her intentions to submit an application to open another shop in Poulsbo.

Initiative 502 passed in 2012 with 52% of Poulsbo residents approving the legalization of recreational marijuana. The city passed interim regulations to allow marijuana–related uses (retailers, producers, processors and medical marijuana collective gardens) in 2013 in the Light Industrial zoning district, city documents read. The Planning Commission recommended approval of both in 2014. The council prohibited production, processing and retailing of marijuana also in 2014.

Last year, the council requested that the Planning Commission make a recommendation on where to allow cannabis retail in the city during budget discussions, per documents.

The commission held a discussion in November and following staff’s recommendation of allowing it in the C-2 Viking Avenue zoning district, and having questions answered from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board as well as an owner of cannabis retail, it recommended also allowing the use in the C-3 zoning district along Highway 3.

The commission recommended 1,000-foot buffer to elementary or secondary schools and playgrounds and 100-foot buffer to recreation center or facility, childcare center, public park, public transit center, library or any game arcade where admission is not restricted to those age 21 or older. The council received the commission’s recommendation on where to allow cannabis retail in January and asked questions of representatives from the Liquor and Cannabis Board, the police chief and a cannabis retail property owner, documents state.

Musgrove resigns

In a shocking announcement at the start of the meeting, Councilmember David Musgrove announced he will be giving up his seat at the end of April or until a replacement is made in efforts to spend more time with his family and to travel. He said his grandbaby was born recently, and there’s another on the way. Plus, his wife recently retired.

“It’s been my pleasure serving our community for over thirteen years, and I look forward to this new chapter in my life,” he said.