IN OUR VIEWPOINT | Take the six months, but get marijuana regulations hashed out

The Island County Commissioners are considering following in the footsteps of the City of Oak Harbor and instituting a moratorium on new marijuana production and sales.

The discussion is part of the “watch and see” approach many other counties are looking at while the state fine-tunes the recently approved marijuana law.

While there’s no need for Island County to be trailblazers in this new age of drug approval, there’s also no sense in not moving forward in abiding by the wishes of Washington state voters.

The Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington, which is providing moratorium and regulation templates to local governments, estimates that Island County will likely see four new marijuana production and distribution businesses as a result of the new law.

During a moratorium, the commissioners said they would discuss how to regulate marijuana production and distribution, including whether or not to simply treat it as just another agricultural product.

The commissioners may also look at some type of buffering regulation because marijuana producers tend to have very high fences, heightened security, bright lights and guard dogs which might be disruptive to neighbors.

The six-month moratorium should be enough time for county officials to figure out a plan.

Take that six-month window, commissioners, but get the job done.

Oak Harbor approved a six-month moratorium on the opening of both recreational and medical marijuana businesses earlier this month.

While the county is looking at the same model, it hasn’t decided whether or not to adopt a moratorium on both uses.

The moratorium would only affect new businesses. If commissioners are going to look at a moratorium at all, they should go all the way.

Existing medical marijuana users on the island have existing options for their medical needs.

Put a hold on the opening of any and all new marijuana businesses, let the county figure out what it needs to figure out — within that six-month window — and let’s move forward.

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