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4 for ’14: Storylines to watch in the coming year

  - Photo courtesy of Seattle Weekly
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Seattle Weekly

It’s a new year.

So now what?

While no one can know for sure what 2014 will bring, 2013 provided some inkling of what will generate headlines in the coming year.

Presented here are our staff selections of a few of the big issues and events that will affect life on Bainbridge Island. We have tried to select stories from a variety of areas and interests, but they are all important.

John W. Gardner, former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare once said, “History never looks like history when you are living through it.”

That may be true.

But within these selected “stories to watch” are the beginnings of events that will surely shape the history of life on Bainbridge Island, and it is important that we recognize the important changes to come.

 

4 for ’14: | Legal marijuana: I-502 will bring legal pot to Bainbridge Island. But how?

Marijuana regulations present questions for the future.

Over the past year, the potential for Bainbridge-based marijuana businesses has fizzled into several question marks.

Some wonder where the businesses will start popping up, others just plain want to know when they can expect to buy on-island. It seems that even the city’s planning department is a little hazy on when the big answers will materialize.

But the plan is to have permanent regulations signed, stamped and sealed mid-way through 2014, giving applicants and residents at least some idea of a timeline.

On Nov. 25, the city council approved interim regulations for marijuana retail stores, processors and medical collective gardens that limit locations to the Day Road industrial park.

In the same hearing, they also passed a six-month moratorium on grow operations.

By adopting a temporary ordinance, the council hoped to give the planning department an extended timeline to strategize zoning for the businesses.

Since the city approved a temporary ordinance, the state has received applications from five potential retailers and eight growers on the island.

Despite this, while the state’s Liquor Control Board did not require business locations to be finalized at the time of the submission, it does require applicants  to make sure there is no moratorium in their proposed location. The city’s decision not to zone grow operations in the interim has stopped several applicants in their tracks.

“It was too important to have product on day one when the doors open up,” said island resident Tom Chester of Ganjika Farms.

“There’s also the question that there might be another moratorium,” Chester continued. “That was too much variability to wait.”

In response to the city’s moratorium, Chester said he plans to locate his farm in Jefferson County if his application is approved by the state.

In the meantime, more headway has been made for pot retailers.

Right now, the planning department sees three neighborhood centers as potential business locations in the next year: all of Rolling Bay and Lynwood Center, and the northern portion of Island Center.

In 2014, marijuana will dominate the planning department’s agenda. Their first meeting discussing permanent regulations was scheduled Jan. 9 — the first of four workshops.

 

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