Yakima Bans Pot Stores,Then Seeks Share of State Pot Money – Hypocritical Or Not?
Critics say the city council is being hypocritical by banning pot stores, but asking for it's share of state pot revenue. Others say money needed to help prosecute marijuana DUI cases and related crime. Who's right?
In a case that's attracted a lot of attention, even on the West Side, the City of Yakima formally banned pot stores within it's city limits back in January. WA State Attorney General Bob Ferguson recently offered an opinion (not a binding ruling) saying he believed the language of I-502 allowed cities and counties to enact their own bans on pot stores within their boundaries. The ACLU, who helped write I-502, has threatened legal action.
Most Southeast and some Central Washington counties opposed the legalization of recreational pot by a wide margin, including Benton and Franklin Counties.
However, Yakima has joined a letter sent to the state by the Association of Washington Cities, seeking a portion of the tax revenue generated by pot sales in the cities and counties where no such bans are in place. Dozens of cities on the West side are already prepared for the pot stores. According to the Yakima Herald-Republic:
'Yakima police Chief Dominic Rizzi said marijuana-related traffic offenses take officers more time because they require blood draws. Rizzi said it would be unfair for the state to not share the available revenue with all localities because marijuana-related offenses will increase across the state.
“It’s an unfunded mandate that has funding,” Rizzi said.
The city had no specific estimate of how much crime might increase with legal recreational marijuana. There were 360 DUI cases in Yakima in 2013, 72 of which involved blood draws that found 37 individuals under the influence of marijuana and eight under both marijuana and alcohol."
ACLU's Criminal Justice Director Alison Holcomb, who helped write the bill that passed, said it is hypocritical for cities who passed pot bans to then ask for revenue generated from pot stores.
Councilman Dave Ettl said: "I am prepared to defend cries of hypocrisy from now until whenever."
As of this writing, Newstalk 870 was unable to find information or confirmation if any other Washington city with a pot store ban is seeking a share of the marijuana store revenue.