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Monte City Council ponders future of pot in city

Pot entrepreneur Josh Miller was unable to find immediate support for his potential retail marijuana outlet he’s proposed to go at Monte Square.

Miller addressed the Montesano City Council Tuesday night and said he had looked all over East County and felt that the best place to sell marijuana, made legal under a voter-approved initiative, is right at 100 Brumfield, Suite 100, in Montesano Square. But, he said, the property owner won’t let him rent the space unless the city supports his application.

And the biggest hurdle is that there’s a fenced-off grass field near the entrance to town that is often used for practice by local youth sports teams. While it is not designated as a park on any map, city officials have said it is part of the city’s parks plan. The marijuana facility must be 1,000 feet away from parks, as part of the restrictions the state has placed on the new class of business.

“I stand before you today at your mercy,” Miller told the City Council. “If the city council decides to adopt the grassy, fenced area at the south entrance of town; then I will not be allowed to open a recreational retail marijuana store. … The voters of Montesano have voted to approve this state initiative and now it is time to provide them with a safe and legal location at which to purchase this product.”

Miller said he didn’t feel the grassy area should be considered a park because, he said, mainly dogs use it. Plus, he said, there are no improvements or bathrooms on it.

However, Councilman Pat Herrington pointed out that many youth soccer clubs use it on a regular basis and the city pays to maintain it — just like a park.

“There’s no restroom in Fleet Park, but no one’s denying it’s a park,” Herrington said.

City Council members Chris Hutchings and Ken Walkington said they had looked at Monte Square and determined even if the grassy area isn’t an official park, Monte Square is still too close to Fleet Park to be granted a retail license. They say the property line for Monte Square is within the 1,000 foot line of Fleet Park.

Walkington and Hutchings said a survey would need to be done to know for sure.

“We’re within 10 to 15 feet,” Walkington said. “But when we get down to brass tacks, then we need to do a survey.”

The Montesano City Council has never adopted a moratorium or zoning laws pertaining to marijuana placement because council members believe the extra level of bureaucracy is unnecessary since current zoning and the state restrictions forbid marijuana from being sold pretty much anywhere downtown or hardly anywhere in the city.

Another store proposed to go on Marcy Street in Montesano is also unlikely to go anywhere because it, too, is too close to Fleet Park.

MARIJUANA WORKSHOP

Meantime, Elma attorney Chris Crew announced he’s hosting a marijuana forum to talk pot laws for potential applicants of growing and selling pot. Crew has applied for a retail license for own store to go in Porter, outside Elma.

The Business Owners Licensing Seminar will be conducted Feb. 1 at the Guesthouse Inn & Suites in Elma by Crew’s new business, Marijuana Workshops

“Marijuana Workshops is a business that grew from Attorney Chris Crew’s law firm, Crew Law Firm, LLC. Attorney Crew has made cannabis law a focus of his law firm and has represented both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana clients in a variety of legal matters,” a press release states. “After Crew was approached by multiple clients interested in being guided through the application process, Crew decided to create Marijuana Workshops.”

Costs and more details are online at www.marijuanaworkshops.com.

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