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Bellingham’s medical marijuana rules likely on hold again

It could be another year before medical marijuana cooperatives get the final word on what will be allowed in the city of Bellingham, as leaders wait for changes at the state level to take effect.

Following an afternoon meeting Monday, June 15, the seven-member city council was poised to approve a year-long emergency moratorium on new medical marijuana cooperatives and continue interim zoning rules that allow patients and certain providers to continue growing for personal use. The move essentially would extend what has been city policy via emergency ordinances since July 2013.

Assistant City Attorney Alan Marriner advised passing the ordinance during the regular Monday night meeting so staff could draft the city’s final rules after the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Control Board implements the “Cannabis Patient Protection Act,” which was partially signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee in April.

The act merges some of the policies for medical marijuana with the rules for recreational marijuana and is set to take effect in July 2016.

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