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Loosening city pot law proposed


Grand Coulee came very close last week to changing local law to allow the licensing of a marijuana retail store in the city.

An ordinance before the city council Sept. 15 originally would have restricted any such license if it was illegal under state or federal law. But that quickly changed when Councilmember David Tylor made a motion to remove the reference to “federal law” from the ordinance.

Voters passed Initiative 502 in November 2012, making it legal in the state of Washington to open such stores. Although it is still against federal law, the U.S. attorney general has promised tolerance for states that vote to allow the use of marijuana.

The council has tackled this idea before, but three of the five have been reluctant to favor a marijuana retail outlet here.

That got an official test earlier this year when an applicant for a marijuana business license was turned down by City Clerk Carol Boyce.

Tylor pressed the point and got a favorable nod from Councilmember Erin Nielsen, who seconded the motion, attending the proceedings by phone.

Each council member had an opportunity to speak about deleting “federal law” from the ordinance, and did.

Mayor Pro Tem Paul Townsend and council members Tammara Byers and Tom Poplawski all indicated that they were not ready to go that far.

After discussions revealed that Tylor’s motion wasn’t going anywhere, he withdrew the motion, but indicated that the matter was not dead, just delayed.

But the three members dissenting from Tylor’s motion, indicated that there was still too much confusion about the law to get their votes, for now.

The city had earlier passed a resolution for a moratorium on the marijuana issue, then reinstated the same for a second six months.

Each time the issue has come up to the council, there has been less opposition to it.

At one council meeting dozens of citizens attended, voicing their opposition to a marijuana store here.

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