WA Mayor Asked to Resign Over Bungling of Pot Store Opening
Goldendale WA could be looking for a new mayor, if citizens and the city council have their way.
Goldendale, the seat for Klickitat County which sits along the Columbia River gorge in South Central Washington, is going to get a pot store against the wishes of most of the city residents and the city council.
In June, Mayor Clinton Baze was sent a notification from the Washington State Liquor Control board informing him a Goldendale businessman was granted a pot store license, and planned to open one in the community of about 3,500. This procedure was followed in all Washington communities where licenses were granted. Baze had 20 days to respond, either in favor or against the license. He could have also requested an additional 20 days to respond if needed.
According to The Goldendale Sentinel Newspaper, he was supposed to notify the city council and show them the application at a public meeting, but apparently he didn't do that. He also failed to respond to the LCB at all. City council members and residents became alarmed when signs went up in one of the town's storefronts about the upcoming opening of the store! Council members said they didn't see the notification until Baze showed it to them at a council meeting...on November 3rd!
A vast majority of voters in Goldendale and Klickitat County voted against I-502 and made it clear they wanted no part of the recreational pot business.
Because he failed to respond, the statutes of the marijuana law treat that as an "approval," and the store is going to open - regardless if the community wants it or not. While Baze says this notification was no different than any other license notification they receive from the state- such as liquor licenses for bars and restaurants - the city council says otherwise.
Council members say had they known, they would have voted to pass an ordinance banning pot growing, processing and selling inside the city limits - much like the ones in Richland, Pasco, Kennewick and Yakima. But now, because pot is legal, and the state received an "ok" by default from the city, their hands are tied.
Numerous council members and citizens are now asking for Mayor Baze to step down.
According to The Goldendale Sentinel:
"Baze dismisses the complaints about not revealing the LCB notice. "I understand how they feel," he says. "But the reality is, we can't treat one business any differently than any other. It's not fair." Despite Klickitat County and Goldendale having voted against I-502, to Baze the state's passage of I-502 trumps local consideration. "It's the law," he says. "I'm just doing my job."
Apparently, Baze missed WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson's opinion in January that cities and counties could adopt their own pot bans, and they would likely stand up in court. Either that, or perhaps he's a "closet toker" who secretly welcomes the arrival of legal weed in a town and county that wants no part of it.