Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

AH council passes pot moratorium

Measure needed due to unclear medical marijuana regulations


An emergency moratorium banning medical cannabis patient providers, collectives or co-operatives was issued by the Airway Heights City Council at its Monday, April 15 meeting.

City planner Derrick Braaten said the moratorium was proposed due to a lack of clarity regarding medical marijuana dispensaries. The moratorium will allow the city to follow state regulations once those have been set in stone. He said even the city of Spokane has had difficulty with its medical marijuana ordinance.

“We’re not even sure where the state stands,” Braaten said.

Braaten emphasized that the moratorium had nothing to do with I-502 passed by voters last November. Airway Heights will address that legislation in the fall.

There have been a few inquiries regarding medical marijuana storefronts, however none have panned out into a serious pursuit.

The City Council passed the ordinance in one vote, suspending its traditional rule of reading an ordinance twice before passage.

Also at the meeting, the City Council approved the public works department to apply for two Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grants as well as a Transportation Alternatives Program grant. The grants require 13.5 percent matching funds. The city is hoping the Department of Transportation will be able to provide those funds.

Public Works Director Kelly Williquette said the grants would fund a traffic light at Deer Heights Road as well as construct a shared-use pedestrian path along Highway 2 west of Hayford Road.

Williquette said the level of service at the Deer Heights intersection was graded F on an A to E letter scale. Increasing amounts of traffic and more congestion coming from commercial operations nearby have caused accidents near the intersection, around 20 incidents since the city annexed the area last year.

One solution until funding comes in is to restrict left turns leading from the Walmart. Williquette answered a question from Councilman Doyle Inman stating that, if implemented, there would likely be an increase of traffic along Hayford turning left to Highway 2.

“But at least you have a signalized intersection,” Williquette said.

Councilwoman Tonya Dashiell asked if the light the city of Spokane is placing at the Flint Road intersection would solve some of the problems, or if it was even factored in to the future level of service at Deer Heights Road.

Williquette said it wasn’t calculated into the grade, but a light would likely increase the level of service at the intersection.

The city is also taking into account future expansion along Deer Heights Road going north, where residential development will take place.

“It has to start somewhere, that’s the problem. Everybody understands there are issues,” Williquette said. “The Department of Transportation knows there are issues, we’ve had a hundred conversations with those guys about it.”

Among other items passed at the meeting included a variance to the city’s nuisance ordinance regarding noise violations. Work crews from the Department of Transportation will be repaving parts of Highway 2 during the summer, and hope to complete the work at night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in an effort to minimize traffic disruption.

Notifications were sent to residents living within 400 feet of the roadway, informing them of the upcoming project this summer. Once a construction bid is accepted and finalized, another notice will be sent to residents.

The City Council also approved a solid waste collection rate decrease, dropping from $107 to $98 per ton.

James Eik can be reached at


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