Fri, Nov 15, 2019
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Willapa Harbor Herald • Town Crier
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Developer pitching Vader marijuana production facility

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Seattle developer Brandon Milton has begun the process of receiving approval for a marijuana production facility in Vader, to take advantage of the state’s distribution of recreational marijuana starting next year.

Milton has reportedly been speaking one-on-one with members of the Vader City Council during the last week to inform them of his intent, and said he hopes it would be a source of industry for the city at a time when few businesses are located in town.

Milton said his expectation is to establish the facility (intended to produce and process marijuana for sale by the State Liquor Control Board) on industrial property west of town currently being developed by Milton and his company, MPM. A warehouse-type building originally intended to house Absolute German, an online auto parts store, would be the proposed site of the marijuana production facility, and Milton offered assurances the building would be adequately secured if the facility were put in place.

He also said he acknowledges concerns residents may have against a marijuana producer in town, but said the purpose of the building would be for production only and those anxious about direct sales in town do not have to be worried, citing the fact that he would not be able to commercially sell products from an industrial zone.

But opposition to the facility has already been strongly expressed among Vader officials, such as Council Member Kevin Flynn, who said a struggling town like Vader does not need what he called the ill effects of marijuana production holding it back.

"There’s so much going on in this town, we really didn’t need this to happen right now," he said, stating the city’s attorney will be looking into Vader’s rights in the situation and whether or not a previously-passed moratorium against marijuana grows would remain in effect.

However, according to Liquor Control Board Spokesperson Mikhail Tartenper, cities are not in a position to allow or disallow marijuana production facilities from being established, and may only enact zoning laws regulating where they can and cannot go.

"There’s no provision for them to opt out," he said, stating the public will be allowed a forum in which they can express their views, similar to when a liquor license is approved, but will not be able to exclude a marijuana grow as they are now legal due to the passage of Initiative-502 last year.

The proposed marijuana production facility is expected to be discussed during the Oct. 15 Vader City Council meeting and, judging from the reactions he has received from residents, Flynn said he expects it to be a "lively" gathering.

If Milton were to apply for state permits to establish the facility, he would be able to between Nov. 18 and Dec. 18, but said he was not able to offer a timeline of when the facility may be put in place.

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