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License sought for marijuana store


A Grand Coulee business couple has asked the city council to grant them a business license for a marijuana retail store near Coulee Medical Center.

Jean Comstock and Jim Pachosa appeared before the council last Tuesday night and requested support in getting the business license in the city.

Comstock has one of the Grant County state permits created by the passage of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana, and is seeking an OK from the city council.

Earlier the couple had visited Electric City council with the same request but found that the location they were looking at was too close to Coulee Playland, a park. The law forbids marijuana retail outlets within 1,000 feet of “any elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, library, or game arcade that allows minors to enter,” the state Liquor Control Board says.

Grand Coulee Mayor Chris Christopherson passed on the request to the council committee that handles that particular area of activity, to Tammara Byers and David Tylor, both of whom are on the city’s planning commission.

It will be one of the topics at the next planning commission meeting, Wednesday (tonight), May 13, at 5 p.m. at city hall. The meeting is open to the public.

In the council discussion, Tylor stated that he would like to see more businesses locate in the city. Byers was much more cautious and said, “I will try to keep an open mind,” clearly indicating that she had some doubts on the issue.

In her letter to the council, Comstock stated: “I feel, as well as the majority of the people of the state of Washington feel, that having these businesses will help with eliminating the uncontrolled and illegal aspect that we experience in communities throughout the state. The Washington State Liquor Control Board has created strict rules from beginning to end for the product quality, content and labeling. This will certainly help in product purity without product tainting, which is something that the illegal black market can’t provide.”

Comstock is the owner of Brandy’s Antiques. Pachosa operates a Sauna Health Store and a website,

Comstock stated that 80 percent of state taxes collected on marijuana will go back into education and evaluation programs, prompting Councilmember Tom Poplawski to say, “That doesn’t sound too good.” Comstock emphasized this week that the state has very strict rules and guidelines on the operation of marijuana retail outlets.

Police Chief John Tufts, when asked about enforcement problems, said that the department isn’t pursuing recreational users.

The council committee and others on the planning commission will make a recommendation to the full council at its next meeting, May 19.

City Clerk Carol Boyce stated that the city would have to hold public hearings and the city’s present ordinance would have to be rewritten if a business license is recommended.

The city council had passed moratoriums on granting any business licenses for marijuana retail operations twice, but the time on the last moratorium has run out.

The state has set the total number of retail licenses available across the state at 334. Recreational sales of marijuana to the public began July 8, 2014.

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