Woodland plans to extend ban on pot businesses

By Justin Runquist, Columbian small cities reporter




• Previously: In November, the Woodland City Council approved a six-month moratorium on marijuana businesses.

• What’s new: Councilors plan to extend the city’s ban on marijuana-related operations.

• What’s next: Two men who applied to open a marijuana growing and processing business in Woodland may seek an alternative location but many jurisdictions have bans.

The Woodland City Council plans to renew its temporary ban on recreational marijuana businesses for another six months.

The city's current moratorium expires in early June, but officials said they want more time to flesh out new zoning regulations on growing, processing and selling recreational marijuana in the city. The councilors plan to vote on the extension at their next meeting on April 21.

With the continuation of the ban, Mayor Grover Laseke said two men who recently applied for a license to grow and process marijuana in the city will probably not get their wish.

The decision to reject or approve an application is up to the state Liquor Control Board, but the board solicits advice from local jurisdictions before making the call.

Laseke sent a letter to the board Tuesday, recommending rejection for the application as the moratorium remains in place. He also shared concern about issuing a license to a business that would conflict with federal laws.

"The city's business license ordinance requires all businesses abide by all local, state and federal laws," Laseke wrote in the letter. "While marijuana is legal in the state of Washington it is still an illegal substance by federal law."

Luigi Cartasegna, 34, and Jonathan Schultz, 61, submitted that application. Cartasegna said he'll try to convince the councilors to change their minds before the vote.

Cartasegna doesn't expect the Liquor Control Board to turn him down, but he plans to start looking into other locations anyway.

Cartasegna was ready to sign a lease on a 5,000-square-foot building for his business, Domenico Farms, but now he said he may look for a space twice that size. Of course, changing the location would slow the application process, he said.

For now, Cartasegna's local options may be sparse. Woodland is just one of several small Clark County cities with temporary bans on recreational marijuana businesses.

"Nobody seems to want to make a decision, so that makes it really difficult," he said.