The Snoqualmie Police Department recently responded to complaints from residents of North Bend’s Wood River neighborhood regarding a possible illegal marijuana growing operation located near their homes in the 45700 block of SE 140th Ave – with the smell of marijuana fueling the complaints.
According to Police Chief Steve McCulley, Snoqualmie Officers performed an investigation which revealed the marijuana being produced on the property is part of a legal Collective Garden medical marijuana growing operation.
Chief McCulley said via email that officers determined the growing operation is also in compliance with City of North Bend zoning regulations and ordinances.
The property that hosts the medical grow is zoned EP-2 (Employment Park 2), which is designated to provide areas “for a variety of industrial land uses, including manufacturing, fabrication, and processing of natural and manmade materials.”
The North Bend Municipal Code on Marijuana Regulation limits marijuana producers/processors to specific locations within the city – south of W. North Bend Way, West of Bendigo Blvd and north of I-90 – and prohibits production and processing within any residentially zoned district or residence in the city.
The regulations, though, appear to be specific to legal, recreational marijuana and the property hosting the Collective Garden is not zoned residential. North Bend’s regulations only appear specific to medical marijuana collective gardens by saying they cannot be a “home occupation business.”
As for the smell, officers were advised the operators of the growing operation will be working on solutions to reduce the distinct odor.
Collective Gardens are allowed per Washington State Law, and are subject to the below provisions until July 1, 2016:
- (a) No more than ten qualifying patients may participate in a single collective garden at any time;
- (b) No person under the age of twenty-one may participate in a collective garden or receive marijuana that was produced,
- processed, transported, or delivered through a collective garden. A designated provider for a person who is under the age of twenty-one may participate in a collective garden on behalf of the person under the age of twenty-one;
- (c) A collective garden may contain no more than fifteen plants per patient up to a total of forty-five plants;
- (d) A collective garden may contain no more than twenty-four ounces of useable marijuana per patient up to a total of seventy-two ounces of useable marijuana;
- (e) A copy of each qualifying patient’s authorization, including a copy of the patient’s proof of identity, must be available at all times on the premises of the collective garden; and
- (f) No useable marijuana from the collective garden is delivered to anyone other than one of the qualifying patients participating in the collective garden.
New Collective Garden/Co-op Regulations this Summer
Regulations about Collective Gardens will change this summer when the state’s new Cannabis Patient Protection Act goes into effect.
Under the new law, the number of patients participating in the newly dubbed ‘Cooperative Gardens’ will be reduced to four, but the allowable cultivated plants will increase to 60. It also requires one of the co-op patients to reside where the garden is being operated.
Large Collective Gardens have until July 1, 2016 to reorganize into a co-op or obtain a producer license from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Police say Law Change will Close North Bend Operation
According to Snoqualmie Police Chief McCulley, as the site of the North Bend Collective Garden is not zoned residential, no patient of a Cooperative Garden may live at the current location so it won’t be able to operate under the new law.
McCulley said officers are currently advising the Collective Garden’s operators in person of these new, impending regulations – and that their marijuana growing operation will have to stop as of July 1, 2016.
Chief McCulley said he will also personally notify the operators in writing of the upcoming law change and its impact on their ability to continue growing.
More information on Washington State Marijuana laws, legally allowed sales and production can be found Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Control website.