Many Washington Cities Now Resistant to Allowing Pot Sales in THEIR Neighborhoods
Voters decided to legalize recreational marijuana by a margin of 56-to-44 percent -- yet many of the 75 biggest cities in our state are "dragging their feet" when it comes to allowing pot stores.
The Seattle-based Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy has just released a study that shows of the 75 largest municipalities in Washington state, most are resistant to allowing pot sales in their communities.
According to the study, just over half have either passed a moratorium on sales, or banned them altogether. 34 cities, including Kennewick, have tabled the issue until further notice and continue to ban sales. Four cities have banned sales outright by passing new laws. Yakima is one of the cities considering an outright ban.
14 have not taken any official action at all.
23 cities, mostly on the west side, including Seattle and Tacoma, have adopted new zoning rules for retail pot sales.
Kennewick officials, like many of the 34 communities adopting moratoriums, want more information and details before taking further action. The Cannabis Center claims pot legalization was done in "good faith" and they think the 34 cities are just trying to wrap their head around the idea. However, a look at the voting results on the initiative show a definite resistance to legalized pot in our neck of the woods.
Just because recreational pot is now legal for adults doesn't mean "everyone" is in favor of it. Most of the support for I-502 came from the West side. According to a county breakdown map prepared by Scott Sunday for Wikipedia, the measure was soundly defeated in Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Grant, Lincoln and Spokane Counties by over a 50% margin. In Adams County, the margin was even bigger, a crushing 60% no note.
City and County officials in the Mid-Columbia are very leery of the measure because of the political climate in Southeastern Washington.
Like many political issues, the vast population of King County was able to help swing the vote in I-502's favor, it was approved by more than a 60% margin in the state's most populous jurisdiction.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is expected to issue a ruling this spring on the subject of the new state law allowing pot, vs. local bans and restrictions in each community. Some experts say Washington could end up with a situation like that in states that have "dry" and "wet" counties when it comes to alcohol sales.
In those areas, citizens who wish to purchase alcohol have to drive to the nearest county to purchase alcohol because sales are banned where they live. The same situation could end up happening with pot stores.