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Pot in Prosser, But Pasco Planning Ban

Prosser yes,  Pasco no
(Photo by Dan Callister/Liaison).

Citing discrepancies and differences between state and Federal law, the City of Pasco has started down the road towards banning pot stores.

Pasco officials are concerned about crossing federal lines, where marijuana is still illegal.   Critics say the feds have largely assured Colorado and Washington officials they will not prosecute recreational users, growers,  and sellers who are licensed.   But many officials won’t believe it until, basically, the feds legalize pot.

The council, at their Monday meeting, voted 6-1 to draft an ordinance that will ban recreational and medicinal marijuana sales inside city limits.

Pasco officials also voiced concerns over a little-discussed part of the legal pot stores, that the revenue will be far short of projections and it won’t be worth the hassles of rewriting codes and creating new ones to accommodate the stores.

Some officials on the council said Pasco should prepare zoning areas for the stores, then open them later when there’s more clarity about federal law.   But the city attorney says they cannot legally zone for a type of business and not allow it to open.

One man who wants to open a pot store in Pasco says it’s important to get it up and running before the store in Prosser and other areas become established. David Morgan wants to open the Lucky Leaf at 404 West Lewis St.

Pasco officials also bebutted Mayor Pro-Tem Rebecca Francik’s argument that I-502 passed by a majority of voters statewide.    In Franklin County – as well as Benton, Walla Walla, Grant, Adams and Lincoln – the measure was soundly defeated by wide margins.

Also cited was State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s opinion that the language in I-502 allowed cities and counties to enact their own bans within their own boundaries.  While Ferguson’s opinion was NOT legally binding,   it basically said he believed such bans would stand up in court of somebody sued a city or county.

This action opened up a floodgate of bans across the state,  most notably in Yakima and Yakima County.

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