The Pierce County Council voted four-to-three along party lines June 14 to overturn Ordinance 2015-27s, which permitted sale of recreational marijuana in rural activity centers like Key Center. They approved a new ordinance (2016-35) that would ban sale of marijuana in all of unincorporated Pierce County. The ordinance included an amendment that the Planning Commission review and make recommendations on zoning in view of the April advisory vote to lift a countywide ban on retail marijuana stores.
Fifty-two percent of voters rejected sale of marijuana in unincorporated Pierce County, with a 30 percent voter turnout. Voters on the Key Peninsula approved it by 61 percent.
According to Councilman Derek Young, who sponsored Ordinance 2015-27s, the impact of the new ordinance will be negligible. Planning Commission review required by the amendment will take so long, any shops that have been licensed will be “grandfathered in” and continue to operate as legally nonconforming even if the commission eventually decides that no marijuana sales should be allowed in any zone.
“I don’t think that some of my fellow council members understand how the Planning Commission and zoning rules work,” Young said.