County OKs 6-month moratorium on marijuana production, process operations

It won’t affect currently permitted businesses

The Grays Harbor County commissioners took action on a couple of big-ticket items on Monday including a moratorium on the production and processing of marijuana and discussion of the proposed solid waste transfer station at Clemons Road in rural Montesano.


Noting complaints of odor and light pollution caused by facilities throughout Grays Harbor County, the commissioners unanimously agreed to a moratorium on marijuana production and processing facilities in the county.

The moratorium is in effect for six months, unless extended. The moratorium does not affect any of the currently permitted operations in the county.

There are three types of allowed marijuana operations in the state — retail (direct sales of ready to consumer marijuana to the public), processing (preparing raw marijuana for consumption) and production (growing marijuana). The commissioners are specifically concerned about complaints received regarding both processing and production.

“There have been people in neighborhoods where these have been set up who have been complaining about the smell and odor, and there have also been people who have had light pollution from the grow lights — it’s inhibiting their ability to go to sleep at night because of too much light,” Commissioner Randy Ross explained.

The moratorium will allow the county to research the issues and revise its current code moving forward, Commissioner Wes Cormier said.

“It’s been a while since it became a state law now (the county approved a marijuana ordinance in 2014), and we’ve kind of discovered some of the nuances of growing marijuana in Grays Harbor County — odor, lighting. A lot of different issues have arose,” Cormier said. “We’re going to look at trying to mitigate those through our permitting process.”

Transfer station

The commissioners — convening as the county Board of Health — were notified by the county department of environmental health of the intent to issue a permit for a transfer station at Clemons Road.

Since early this year, the proposed Harold Lemay Enterprises (Waste Connections) transfer station that could be coming to Clemons Road in rural Montesano has been met with opposition from those in the community.

Neighbors of the property that will house the new transfer station are opposed to the location of the transfer station overall, fearing increased noise, smell and nuisance animals.

Commuters and residents of Central Park have noted their concern about a potential stop light that will be installed on Highway 12 at the intersection. Critics have said the traffic signal will cause accidents and result in traffic backups during clam season.

The traffic signal has been approved by the state Department of Transportation. A traffic study was completed prior to approval.

Monday’s action by the commissioners only acted as an acknowledgement of the intent to issue a permit.