Benton County’s Planning Commission failed to approve zoning ordinance changes what would prohibit any future cannabis retail locations within unincorporated areas of the county. It’s ironic that despite overwhelming public support for these changes, they were unable to affirm what the voters made clear in voting down I-502 with a 12 percent margin five years ago. It’s equally ironic that the rationale for not supporting these changes included concerns over a monopoly (despite having six different licensed locations within the county) and sovereignty of choosing what is and is not acceptable within our county.
By taking this action, they have now punted the ball back to the county commissioners, whose political courage will be tested and closely watched by the same majority of citizens who voted I-502 down in the first place.
Bill Berkman, Richland