When Washington State voters had their say on sales of recreational marijuana in 2012 (I-502), Benton County voters did not approve by a 12-point margin. Further, our state attorney general acknowledges local jurisdictions have authority to prohibit or designate appropriate zones for licensed marijuana businesses.
On Tuesday, the Benton County Planning Commission held a public hearing regarding a proposed ordinance to ban additional recreational marijuana retail sales locations in unincorporated areas of the county.
It was standing-room-only attendance and all were allowed to speak for or against the ordinance, including neighbors of the pot shop on Arena Road in West Richland.
Since the initiative failed in Benton County in the first place, and since the citizens who showed up to support the ordinance ban were nearly triple those opposing, and since the Benton County Planning committee staff recommended approval of the ordinance, it seems right that the planning commission would support the ban. However, the commission let down the voters. They recommended to the county commissioners to reject the ordinance.
What a shame that voters have their voice overturned by a commission whose members are appointed, not elected to their positions.
Kimberly Heath, Richland