Some citizens in Richland have decided six-plus years is enough when it comes to city and Benton County officials denying the approved vote of the people for recreational marijuana use by not allowing stores to open which should be legally allowed to operate.

Legalize Richland, whose roots can be traced to the Benton County Libertarian Party, collected enough signatures on a petition requiring the city to reconsider its ban or allow the public to vote on the issue.

The group turned in 300 pages of signatures and the petition to the city clerk November 6, after the growing frustration of having to drive to Prosser or Finley where recreational marijuana stores are legal, prompted them to take action.

By law, council has 30 days from delivery of the validated and verified petition to take up and address the city's pot ban issue. They will do just that on December 4th. If they don't act on it, it goes to the ballot February 12, 2019.

The December 4th discussion of the topic will "probably a council meeting for the ages," said the treasurer of Legalize Richland Ryan Cooper.

Richland mayor Bob Thompson opposed the original pot shop ban in 2014, but three members, who still sit on the council, supported the ban. There are two new city council members since the last time the topic was brought up and one current member of the council was absent at the time of the last vote.

Richland joined most cities in Benton and Franklin counties enacting local pot bans reasoning the constituents in these areas were soundly opposed to the measure, Initiative 502, which easily passed state wide back in 2012.

Controversy over a recently proposed West Richland marijuana dispensary and foul cannabis harvest odors in Finley continue to keep the issue on the front burner.

Medical marijuana and recreational marijuana initiatives have, for the most part, been passing across the country as the pendulum on pot prohibition continues to swing toward complete decriminalization. But it is a slow and painstaking process for those who simply want the locals to follow the will of ALL of the people of Washington state.

The Dec. 4 meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. at Richland City Hall on George Washington Way.

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