Buckley pot moratorium extended

A moratorium on businesses that would produce or process marijuana has been extended by the Buckley City Council.

The action came during a March 28 council session and simply extended a moratorium enacted six months ago. Last week’s council vote added another six months to the ban on any operation that would grow or process marijuana.

The council’s vote does not impact the two marijuana retailers operating in Buckley. Selling weed is an accepted, legal venture.

Rather, the ordinance is aimed at “the establishment, location, operation, licensing and permitting of marijuana production and processing facilities” in the city’s commercial zone.

The moratorium – initially passed Oct. 11, 2016 – has nothing to do with ethical or legal concerns. It is entirely a financial issue, aimed at keeping Buckley’s commercial property available to entities that would return the most money to the city.

When the moratorium was first considered last fall, a staff memo to the council noted, “The city has very limited amount of commercial land available for development and the loss of potential commercial space can have a direct impact on the city’s ability…to provide public services in its commercial areas.”

It was pointed out that marijuana growers and processors do not have to pay the same retail sales tax as others who might operate in Buckley’s commercial zone.

Neither the original moratorium nor last week’s extension will impact the project springing to life on the north side of state Route 410. Three buildings are planned for a 2.3-acre parcel east of downtown that will be home to a marijuana growing and processing operation. It had cleared all city hurdles prior to the moratorium being enacted.