Council will hold public meeting, though ban unlikely to change
VANCOUVER — The conversation over unincorporated Clark County’s ban on marijuana businesses may not be dead after all.
At a Wednesday morning meeting, council members decided to proceed with holding a hearing on the issue, though it’s unclear when that would happen.
A work session was held last January, and a public meeting was expected to happen sometime in February. But County Chair Marc Boldt decided to hold off after receiving pushback from a number of local groups, including the Salvation Army, local law enforcement, and children’s groups.
Councilor John Blom was missing from that work session, and has pushed to bring the meeting back onto the agenda. This would not be a full public hearing on the issue.
“I think at a public hearing there’s a proposed code change on the table,” said Blom. “At a public meeting, it would be just an opportunity to hear input on the subject in general, and I would be supportive of that.”
Supporting Blom is Councilor Julie Olson.
“There were a lot of questions that came up in the last work session that nobody had answers to,” Olson said, “so I think to get the realistic view of what’s happening on the ground is reasonable.”
Blom has indicated he is in favor of overturning the ban. Olson is in favor of holding a hearing about the issue, but has not given an indication about whether she would support repealing the moratorium. The other three council members have indicated they’re in favor of upholding the 2014 moratorium, but none spoke against the idea of holding another work session and public meeting.
“It is the impact on humans that I’d be interested in being as fully aware of as possible,” said Councilor Jeanne Stewart, who also wondered if there might be any reports the council could hear about the changing potency of current cannabis strains compared to those popular in the 1960’s. Councilor Eileen Quiring agreed.
“If we were to have any kind of a hearing I would ask that Dr. (Alan) Melnick (Clark County Public Health Officer) look at that,” she said, “as well as many reports that I’ve had in my emails, and even one that was posted on Facebook this morning, about the detrimental effects of marijuana. The current type of marijuana.”
The council instructed staff to put together a list of potential participants for the meeting, including the Liquor Cannabis Board, law enforcement from Vancouver and Clark County, local marijuana industry representatives, and possibly the Office of Financial Management and the county Budget Office. The public would also be given an opportunity to weigh in at that time.
ClarkCountyToday.com will update this story as soon as a date for the meeting is set.