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June 16, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Classen proposes city-licensed pot gardens

Posted by Emily Heffter

Seattle City Council candidate Maurice Classen says the city should license pot-growing community gardens in industrial zones, for use by medical marijuana patients.

It's popular in Seattle city politics to push for looser regulations on marijuana, including legalization. The state has allowed medical-marijuana use for more than a decade, but conflicts between federal and local laws have created a supply and enforcement puzzle. Classen, who is a King County deputy prosecuting attorney, says his proposal would solve part of the problem.

State workers who regulate marijuana dispensaries could be arrested, but Classen said he believes city regulation is legal.

Classen wants the city to license "garden co-ops" that could be run by non-profit entities with "strict limits upon the medical cannabis that they can cultivate and provide to patients."

Classen is one of three candidates challenging Councilmember Jean Godden for her seat on the council.

UPDATE: Godden's campaign consultant, Cathy Allen, just sent this response:

"Jean has been a strong advocate for decriminalizing marijuana for years. She wrote several letters to the Governor and spoke with her directly urging passage of the marijuana dispensary bill during this past legislative session. She believes in medical marijuana and decriminalization, but believes quick fixes out of the blue that are untried and require laws to be 'unenforced' don't seem to be the best we could do.

"This looks like election pandering. For it to get off the ground one needs to have people who want to build and run cooperatives. It seems rather strange to me that Classen has gotten Dan Satterberg to say he will look the other way in the prosecuting of this law. Have the County Council and County Exec vetted this idea? Where is the public input in this; where is the economic feasibility of this working; who in the business believes this will work?

"A city-sanctioned 675 plant grow is a pretty easy target for a Federal raid."

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