West Richland Residents Lit Up Over Pot Store at Meeting
Tuesday morning, Benton County Commissioners held a public hearing to gather comments about the new pot store that's being built in an unincorporated 'donut' of county land inside the West Richland city limits. From the bulk of the citizens who spoke, residents don't want it there.
While many said they are not totally against pot, they just don't want the store in their neighborhood. The sticky issue is, the land where the Nirvana Cannabis store is going in sits on a plot of land that's technically in the county, and never been annexed or incorporated by the city. Therefore, because there's no pot ban in the county, it's legal. Even though it sits 'inside' the city limits.
West Richland, like Kennewick, Pasco and Richland, has their own ban inside their city limits. The statutes of I-502 do not prohibit cities or counties from enacting their own pot bans, and this has stood up in court numerous times.
For three hours, according to Yaktrinews.com, residents complained, shared their doubts, and even told officials they felt their pleas were being ignored against the store. However, Commissioner Jim Beaver and others seemed to side with the residents. Beaver said a letter and inquiries sent to the Liquor Control Board (who oversees pot stores and operations) was given a rather blunt reply.
According to Beaver the Board responded to the county's concerns by saying "Mr. Beaver, thank you for your comments. But we don't care." The Board is the entity who licensed the West Richland operation.
Finley residents showed up as well, many are still upset over what they say is negative impacts from the Green 2 Go store that opened near there in 2016. Neighbors say it's attracted often unruly and rude customers, heavy traffic and lines outside the store. Some who live close by even claim people on drugs went to the bathroom in their yards. Finley residents told West Richland citizens their experience serves as a warning, according to Yaktrinews.com. They indicate when the Nirvana store goes in, it will have negative affects on the surrounding neighborhoods.