Port of Douglas Considers Marijuana-Production Proposal

February 26, 2014, Wenatchee Business Journal


A proposal by a company to lease property near Pangborn Memorial Airport to produce marijuana will be reviewed by the Port of Douglas County Commission as part of the agenda at a meeting at 9 a.m. Feb. 27 at the Executive Flight Training Room, 1 Campbell Parkway, Pangborn Airport Business Park, East Wenatchee.


American Farms LLC wants to build a state-licensed, indoor-growing facility at the Port of Douglas’ business park next to the airport. At a Dec. 10 presentation to the port commission, American Farms’ Grant Guelich said his company is looking for a central location in the state to produce cannabis for retail stores in Western Washington. The first state-licensed stores are expected to open later this year.


During Thursday’s meeting, commissioners will hear from staff on state Liquor Control Board licensing requirements and on whether leasing to a state-licensed producer would put the airport’s federal funding at risk.


American Farms also will present its business plan at the port meeting, which is open to the public.


Washington voters passed Initiative 502 in November 2012 to legalize and regulate the recreational use of pot by adults over 21. While the federal government still considers marijuana a controlled substance, it has told the state it can go ahead with marijuana production and sales as long as it adheres to federal priorities such as keeping legal pot from minors and keeping it from being diverted to other states.


If the port were to lease land to American Farms, the site would be at the port’s 70-acre airport business park, on the southwest corner of airport property. The port district is part owner of the airport and leases the land for its business park from the airport.


In Douglas County, growing and processing operations are essentially limited to industrial zones. The port’s business park at Pangborn is zoned for industrial uses.


“We’ll be fact finding at this meeting,” said Lisa Parks, the port’s executive director. “But it is also an opportunity for residents who are interested to come and listen.”


Other topics on the agenda include a review of the Orondo River Park Comprehensive Plan and Port sponsorship of a TEDx Wenatchee workshop proposed for the end of March. This will be a special meeting of the commission, due to a change in date from their regularly scheduled fourth Tuesday meeting.

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