Shoreline inched closer to a policy on collective gardens to grow medical marijuana within the city limits during a meeting and public hearing Dec. 1 at Shoreline City Hall.
A state law allowing collective gardens for medical marijuana was passed by the Legislature this past July. It allows marijuana to be grown for approved patients under certain limitations.
The Shoreline City Council adopted a six-month moratorium on July 18 regarding collective gardens, to give the city time to study the collective garden model and determine how it will regulate them.
Last Thursday, the Planning Commission amended the language in the city’s proposed development code amendments for medical marijuana collective gardens, and will send the recommended changes to the City Council for a study session on the issue Dec. 12. The Council is expected to vote on a new policy on Jan. 9 before the moratorium is up.
The Planning Commission struck language from the development code that would require collective gardens to be more than 1,000 feet apart. The main reason for this during the discussion was that law enforcement opinion on policing collective gardens clustered together versus spread apart seemed to be mixed. A cluster of gardens could perhaps be a target for criminal activity, but also could be easier to keep an eye on by police. The Commission kept language that keeps collective gardens 1,000 feet away from schools, as a city map shows.
The Planning Commission also added language that a person seeking to establish a legal, collective garden would have to obtain a safety license from the city. A safety license is also required of adult entertainers such as strippers who operate in the city.
Language that required a copy of each qualifying patient’s valid documentation or proof of registration and proof of identity on the premises of the collective garden was also struck. Several other minor changes to the language in the development code amendments.
The code allows for no more than 15 plants per patient and up to a total of 45 plants per garden. Also, no more than 10 qualifying patients or their providers can participate in a single collective garden at one time.
Kurt Boehl, a Seattle attorney, who represents Green Cure, a medical marijuana organization in Shoreline, said the meeting produced the expected results and was pleasantly surprised to hear the Planning Commission strike the 1,000-foot restriction between collective gardens. He said restrictions on how many patients can be participating in a collective garden at one time could be loosely interpreted as it has been in Seattle.