BG Council members look to discuss marijuana moratorium


The City of Battle Ground still remains the only jurisdiction in Clark County to not have a temporary moratorium in place banning the sale and production of marijuana and Battle Ground City Council members are somewhat divided over how they should move forward with the issue.

On Jan. 16, Mayor Shane Bowman attempted to call an emergency meeting to be the evening of Jan. 17 to discuss the possible moratorium. However, the meeting was canceled early that Friday after some council members said they didn’t agree with the short notice. Bowman then tried to amend the agenda during the Jan. 21 meeting to add discussion of the potential moratorium to the evening’s agenda, but that motion failed. Council members Adrian Cortes, Mike Dalesandro and Chris Regan voted against amending the agenda and Bowman, Philip Johnson and Lyle Lamb voted for it.

Cortes then made a motion to place the discussion of a marijuana moratorium onto the agenda for the council’s first meeting in February, but that motion also failed with Lamb, Johnson and Bowman voting against it.

Council Member Bill Ganley, who could’ve been a tie-breaking vote on these motions, was absent from the Jan. 21 meeting.

Bowman said the main reason he wanted to add the marijuana moratorium to the meeting agenda was because he wanted to at least discuss what the city’s options are.

“The state has two different bills going through right now that could change things,” Bowman said. “All the other jurisdictions have them (moratoriums), so everything is getting pushed to us. I just wanted council to slow things down a bit. By putting a temporary moratorium on it, we could’ve held a public hearing and done all that.”

Cortes, who disagreed with Bowman calling the short-notice emergency meeting and with adding the marijuana discussion to the Jan. 21 meeting agenda, said his main issue with the whole thing was that it didn’t provide a lot of notice so that there could be public input.

“Public input was not emphasized,” Cortes said. “Especially when you have an issue like this where a vote of the people has already happened, I just wanted more time for public input and more time for city staff to prepare information on the marijuana issue.”

Dalesandro echoed Cortes’ thoughts and said he thinks the best way to move forward is for council members to reach out to the citizens and seek their input before considering any action.

“This is about having a transparent, informed process and listening to the people of Battle Ground on this very important issue,” Dalesandro said.

On Jan. 17, Attorney General Bob Ferguson gave his opinion that cities and counties in the state could block marijuana businesses from operating until the federal government legalizes marijuana.

The City of Battle Ground has received two applications related to marijuana businesses (one applicant that would divide the property in order to have two separate producer businesses). Since the businesses have vesting rights, even if the city eventually did pass a moratorium, it wouldn’t ban those businesses from coming in.

“I’m not saying I’m against the people coming in or the new state law,” Bowman said. “I just want to slow the process down and look at it. The challenge we have is, the other three (Cortes, Regan and Dalesandro) want to throw it on the agenda for a future meeting, but by the time we would be done discussing it, the state will be done with all their stuff. I wasn’t so much interested in discussing it, I was interested in seeing what we could do to figure out what we’re going to be.”

Cortes said he plans to bring the marijuana moratorium issue up at the next council meeting and ask for it to be added to a future meeting agenda.

“More importantly, as an umbrella to everything, I just want the process surrounding this to be open and transparent,” Cortes said. “That’s all I want, I would want that on any issue.”