[2/28/22] Okanogan County Cannabis Checklist

Posted in Local Government & Meetings

Okanogan County is working on a checklist to help coordinate the licensing process with the state for new cannabis operations.

The State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) notifies the county of new license applications but, in the past, the county rarely commented on these applications, according to Planning Director Pete Palmer.

Palmer proposed a checklist to help review all aspects of a new license, including the 911 address and zoning regulations. The county could also tell the WSLCB they have no objections.

Palmer said the county has been concerned that some licenses contain incomplete or inaccurate information because the state has been issuing licenses for multiple suites or units at a given address, without accounting for the size of the parcel or the aggregate size of the individual grows.

Many cannabis growers have been assigning their own 911 address, which gets listed on the license even when it’s not a valid address. Palmer said obtaining more detailed information from the state would also allow the county to identify how many companies would operate on a given parcel. It would assist in the environmental review and give neighbors a better sense of what’s planned.

Okanogan County has imposed a moratorium on new cannabis farms to gather up-to-date information on the licensees and to determine whether the farms are in compliance with county zoning regulations. The county also wants to ensure that all growers have an approved, detailed site plan. The moratorium requires all existing growers to meet with the Planning Department.

The moratorium, originally imposed in August, has been extended to allow more time for the meetings, since less than half of the growers had met with the county by the end of January.