A moratorium on new marijuana farms is in effect until the end of the year, but the Okanogan County commissioners lifted the moratorium on new marijuana processing operations after a public hearing on Aug. 21.

The commissioners had imposed a six-month moratorium at the end of June on new operations to grow, process or sell marijuana. It also had halted the expansion of existing operations.

At the first public hearing on the matter in July, the commissioners allowed new retail operations to go forward. After last week’s hearing, processing operations will also be allowed to set up in the county.

The Okanogan County Planning Department is creating an advisory committee with representatives of the cannabis industry and the public to provide input to the county’s planning commission to address concerns about marijuana farming.

The committee will review where farms can be located and whether permits for them would be subject to conditions. The aim is to avoid siting cannabis operations in areas where they are incompatible with surrounding land uses, and to increase certainty for those applying for permits, according to the commissioners’ resolution.

The planning commissioners will advise the county commissioners. The moratorium can be repealed or extended as needed, according to Laleña Johns, clerk of the board.