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Bellevue Planning Commission working toward final regs for pot businesses |Group to meet with police, city attorney

The Bellevue Planning Commission is ramping up work on a final ordinance to regulate recreational pot businesses in the city, and will hear from the police department Wednesday about its enforcement goals.

"The overall theme of this has been that this is what the voters enacted, and our job was to implement it in the best way possible and one of those is enforcement of the rules," said Councilmember John Stokes and council liaison to the planning commission. "What (the police is) doing is what their job is, and that's to look at the interim ordinance and see if there's anything we missed or any additional questions."

While the Washington State Liquor Control Board doesn't anticipate pot stores will open until July and many likely later, the city has been regulating such businesses under an emergency ordinance since October. Stokes said the planning commission has been dealing with a number of other city projects, and doesn't expect a permanent ordinance to come up before September.

The planning commission believes language in the interim ordinance is fairly sound, Stokes said, but needs to find out where changes may need to be made by hearing from law enforcement and the city attorney.

"I don't think it's going to be dramatically different," Stokes said.

He said it is believed stores opening under the interim ordinance will not be grandfathered under those regulations and can be made to comply with new regulations, much like what the city did recently to tackle multi-room rentals. This is an example of questions the city attorney will be able to answer for the commission, Stokes added.

The planning commission will not be looking at options for banning recreational marijuana businesses in Bellevue, as the state attorney general has opined is legally allowed for local jurisdictions. Stokes said there is work being done by the city parks and community services department and Youth Eastside Services to ensure there is a strong educational process to coincide with completion of the ordinance.

The planning commission will meet 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, and public comment is accepted at the start and end of each meeting.

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