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Anacortes – The City Council voted 4-2 Monday to permanently ban medical marijuana cooperatives within city limits.

A cooperative consists of four registered medical marijuana patients growing up to 60 plants in one residence for personal use.

The ban was put in place because growing that many plants in a single home could cause problems for neighbors, according to city staff. Another reason for the ban is that state rules regulating the medical marijuana industry are still being put in place.

Banning cooperatives doesn’t mean patients can’t grow marijuana.

Registered medical marijuana patients can still grow up to 15 plants in own homes. Patients unable to grow their own marijuana also have the option of allowing another patient to grow their plants. That patient, however, can only grow on behalf of one other person, capping the maximum number of plants in a home at 30.

Patients can also buy marijuana from two retail locations in the city, city staff said.

Before Monday’s vote, the city’s moratorium on cooperatives was set to expire, City Attorney Darcy Swetnam said.

Councilmembers Liz Lovelett and John Archibald voted against the ban, saying more could be done to help medical marijuana patients.

Archibald said it may be too difficult for patients to find others to grow marijuana for them, with the pool of growers limited by the ban.

“My biggest concern is for patients unable to grow their own,” Archibald said. “It’s not easy to grow marijuana. It takes a lot of talent to be successful at it … I do understand for getting rid of these large co-ops though.”

Lovelett suggested allowing certain areas of the city, such as March Point, to have cooperative gardens.

Changes to the ban could be made later, Swetnam said.

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Full Article: Anacortes Bans Medical Marijuana Cooperatives
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