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2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Hearing tonight for Bridgeport marijuana moratorium

Jennifer Marshall Best
Herald Staff Writer

The Bridgeport City Council will hold a public hearing tonight for a six-month marijuana moratorium it passed earlier this month.

The council agreed in January to have the city attorney draw up a resolution for the moratorium, which temporarily bans any growing or selling of marijuana within the city limits.

Voters across the state passed Initiative 502 in November, making it legal in the state's eyes for adults over 21 to, among other things, possess less than 1 ounce of marijuana.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board has been tasked with developing guidelines for growing, marketing and distributing marijuana, but the agency has until the end of the year to do so. Meanwhile, the new law, which went into effect Dec. 6, has local governments and law enforcement scratching their heads over how to handle a substance that is still illegal on a federal level.

The moratorium gives the city six months from the date of passage "to establish and develop and research findings and conclusions," said Mayor Marilynn Lynn, with the hope that the liquor board has some guidelines established by that point. If not, the council can choose to extend the moratorium.

The resolution was passed during the Feb. 13 council meeting after a quick first and second reading. The city typically holds first and second readings of ordinances and resolutions in consecutive meetings, but Lynn said the attorney, Chuck Zimmerman, recommended both readings in one meeting to prevent complications if a citizen came to city hall between meetings to apply for a business license to sell weed.

A public hearing would have to be held within 60 days, Lynn told the council, so the date was set for 7 p.m. at the Feb. 27 regular council meeting at city hall, 1206 Columbia Ave.

The council also passed a resolution to add marijuana to its list of banned substances for city employees while at work or when using any city equipment or vehicles, equating its use to the city's already established alcohol policy.

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