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Lacey council to discuss medical marijuana collective garden rules

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The Lacey City Council will continue to discuss medical marijuana collective gardens during a special work session Thursday night.

The 5:30 p.m. meeting in the council chambers is a continuation of a work session July 12. It is open to the public, although no comments will be taken.

The city passed a temporary ordinance in February regulating collective gardens to provide the planning commission time to decide the best way to handle the controversial issue.

The ordinance lasts six months and will expire Aug. 9.

The temporary ordinance has several requirements; it follows state law by mandating that a single garden have no more than 10 qualifying patients participating and contain no more than 15 plants per patient, totaling no more than 45 plants per garden. It also states that collective gardens cannot be within 500 feet of one another and cannot be within 1,000 feet of schools. They must also not be outside or visible to the public.

During the most recent work session, the council discussed finding a way to regulate collective gardens without violating federal law. The Tacoma City Council and other governments have been grappling with the same issue in recent months.

The council discussed an ordinance that would provide standards for collective gardens without asking for city permits, licenses or inspections. However, according to meeting minutes, several council members supported some type of permit or license.

The planning commission has recommended the council extend the interim ordinance, allowing time for voters to weigh in on Initiative 502 in November. If passed, that initiative would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution and possession statewide.

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