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Moratorium lifted on medical marijuana

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With a 4-0 vote, Delta City Council lifted the moratorium on medical marijuana establishments in the City of Delta at its April 2 meeting.

Council action triggers a timeline that defines the application and approval process, as previously approved in an ordinance adopted by Delta City Council. The first step is notice that applications will be available at the city clerk's office beginning at 9 a.m. April 10, until 4:30 p.m. on April 16. Pursuant to city code, the application deadline may be extended for some types of medical marijuana establishments if fewer applications are submitted by the deadline than the number of available licenses.

A three-month moratorium was enacted shortly after voters approved the sale of medical marijuana in November, to give council time to address zoning and licensing issues. The moratorium was extended an additional three months and without council action, would have automatically expired on May 13.

"If we did not lift the moratorium, would that in fact prevent medical marijuana shops and sales in Delta?" Mayor Ron Austin asked at the April 2 meeting. His question was an attempt to clear up a misconception that as long as the moratorium remains in effect, there will be no medical marijuana establishments in the city.

"No," said city attorney David McConaughy, "and I don't think you'd have a basis to extend it again either."

By doing nothing, and allowing the moratorium to expire automatically, McConaughy said council would simply be delaying the issuance of licenses and making it harder for staff and the planning commission to comply with the deadlines council adopted.

After additional discussion about timelines, councilmember Gerald Roberts made a motion to lift the moratorium.

"In light of the fact that we have those two ordinances in place (zoning and licensing), it has come time to terminate the moratorium," he said. Council was in agreement.

Councilmember Christopher Ryan was absent from the April 2 meeting, which explains why only four votes were cast.

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