Washington City Passes Surprise Marijuana Moratorium

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The Spokane Valley City Council unexpectedly passed a moratorium on marijuana businesses that don’t currently have licenses from the state, saying the industry has created a public health crisis.

The move could impact existing medical marijuana dispensaries – which do not have licenses, because the state does not offer them for the MMJ industry – as well as entrepreneurs hoping to set up new recreational cannabis businesses in the city. Officials also said they are targeting vape lounges and other unlicensed businesses that handle marijuana, according to the Spokesman-Review

The measure was not on the council agenda but took effect immediately after the unanimous vote.

Passage of the moratorium now means a public hearing will be held on Jan. 27, after which the council can keep or change it, the newspaper reported. The vote was allowed without public notice because the city declared a public health crisis.

The move is the latest attempt by Washington cities to crack down on marijuana businesses that aren’t licensed to operate in the state.