Benton county votes to ban pot production

Benton County Commissioners Conference Room at the Benton County Courthouse in Prosser. (File Image/Maecy Enger)

PROSSER, Wash. (AP) – Officials in a southeast Washington county approved an emergency ordinance to ban new marijuana production and processing for six months.

The Benton County commissioners voted Tuesday on the ordinance in Prosser.

Like a current retail ban, it would only affect new operators. It would not apply to the 47 cannabis producers and 35 processors with physical addresses in Benton County.

Benton County planning manager Jerrod MacPherson says the ban would end after six months unless the county commission acts to extend it or make it permanent.

Benton County has struggled with the unexpected consequences of recreational marijuana for much of the year.

Washington voters approved Initiative 502 in 2012. It passed statewide by 56 percent to 44 percent. Benton County voters rejected the measure.