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Medical Cannabis Moratorium


The moratorium has expired on August 1, 2012. 


The City Council adopted Substitute Ordinance No. 28083 on July 31, 2012, amending Chapter 8.30 of the Tacoma Municipal Code to identify activities related to cannabis that are nuisances.


The nuisance code approach was an alternative to the land use regulatory code approach taken by the Planning Commission.  The proposed amendments to the Land Use Regulatory Code for regulating Medical Cannabis, as recommended by the Planning Commission in June 2012, were intended to best respond to the directives from the City Council pursuant to the moratorium, Ordinance No. 28010, and to focus on tools to minimize land use compatibility impacts on the community. 


The City Council held a public hearing on June 26, 2012 on the Planning Commission's recommendations, and was scheduled to conduct the first reading of the proposed Land Use Regulatory Code Ordinance on July 17, 2012.  However, that ordinance was pulled from the agenda in favor of pursuing an alternative approach.  On July 24, 2012, the City Council heard first reading of Ordinance No. 28083, amending Chapter 8.30 of the Municipal Code, relating to public nuisances, to add a new section identifying activities related to medical cannabis that are nuisances. 

Some elements of both the Planning Commission's and Medical Cannabis Task Force’s recommendations were incorporated in the nuisance regulatory code approach.  Final reading and adoption of Substitute Ordinance No. 28083 occurred on July 31, 2012.

Key Documents

Major occurrences concerning the moratorium, as reflected in the respective key documents, are posted below in reverse chronological order:

Sustitue Ordinance No. 28083 - July 31, 2012
City Council Public Hearing Notice - June 26, 2012
Planning Commission Recommendation Packet - June 6, 2012
Planning Commission Review Packet - June 6, 2012
Notice of Planning Commission Public Hearing - May 16, 2012
Public Review Package for the Public Hearing - May 16, 2012
Planning Commission Review Packet - April 18, 2012
Planning Commission Review Packet - April 4, 2012
Planning Commission Review Packet - March 7, 2012
Planning Commission Review Packet - February 1, 2012

Moratorium Schedule - September 7, 2011
The 12-month work plan per Ord.28021

Ordinance No. 28021 - October 4, 2011
Extending the moratorium to August 1, 2012

City Council Public Hearing Notice - September 27, 2011
Conducted per Ord. 28010

Planning Commission Recommendations - September 7, 2011
12-month moratorium needed

Planning Commission Public Hearing Background Materials - September 7, 2011
Resolution No. 38318 - August 23, 2011
Establishing the Medical Cannabis Task Force

Planning Commission Public Hearing Notice - August 22, 2011
Conducted per Ord. 28010

Moratorium Schedule draft - August 10, 2010
Draft work schedule to carry out Ord. 28010

Ordinance No. 28010 - August 2, 2011
Enacting the 6-month moratorium

E2SSB 5073 Summary - July 2011
Compiled by the Association of Washington Cities

E2SSB 5073 - July 22, 2011
Amending RCW69.51A; several portions vetoed by Governor


The City Council adopted Ordinance No. 28010 on August 2, 2011, enacting a 180-day emergency moratorium that prohibits the acceptance of applications for the establishment, location, operation, licensing, permitting, maintenance, or continuation of medical cannabis collective gardens or medical cannabis dispensaries within the City. 


The purpose of the moratorium is to allow time to develop and adopt zoning, business licensing, health and safety requirements and taxes for production, processing and dispensing of medical cannabis and to allow the City reasonable time to review the associated regulations to ensure that those regulations achieve their intended purpose.


The moratorium also directed the Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee to create a Task Force comprised of citizens that would be impacted by future regulation of medical cannabis collective gardens or medical cannabis dispensaries to provide feedback to the Planning Commission, the City Manager and the City Council. 


Per Tacoma Municipal Code Chapter 13.02.055, pertaining to moratorium, the City Council referred the moratorium to the Planning Commission to develop findings and recommendations by September 7, 2011 on whether to retain, modify or rescind the moratorium.  On September 27, the Commission conducted a public hearing and made a recommendation to the City Council that the moratorium is needed and should be extended to 12 months.


The City Council held a public hearing on September 27, and adopted Ordinance No. 28021 on October 4, to extend the moratorium to August 1, 2012, based on the Planning Commission's recommendations.


Staff Contact

Lucas Shadduck
(253) 594-7975

Brian Boudet
(253) 573-2389