I've been through quite a few contentious issues during my 8 years on the Yakima City Council but the legalization of Marijuana is by far one of the worst. I'm not sure if it's because people don't follow the process that local governments go through to determine how to handle these types of issues or if people who want to give their opinion and just criticize because they can't understand why we don't see things their way. Whatever the case may be it's my job to sum it up in this blog similar to the news stories you get after every meeting.


Yakima County Election Results
Yes 32,330 42.19%
No 44,297 57.81%

Statewide Election Results
Yes 1,724,209 55.7%
No 1,371,235 44.3%

The Liquor control board issued rules related to implementation and an FAQ on I-502. Read the FAQ sheet.

The State AG Bob Ferguson issued a non-binding legal opinion giving the cities the ability to ban the retail sale and production of marijuana.

The Yakima City Council already has a ban on ANY illegal federal drug

The Yakima City Council decriminalized an ounce of Marijuana

On it's face you would think since I-502 passed at the State ballot box that instantly it would become legal and people could just start growing and selling marijuana. Not so fast. The State even needed time to figure this thing out.

In fact this entire issue is uncharted waters for the two states that approved the use of marijuana. It's even more difficult for the cities that are being asked to decide how to handle the issue from a land use perspective. It's too new and untested at this point. You have a handshake and a promise from the Federal government to turn their head while we get things setup and that's supposed to make cities and suppliers/distributors feel comfortable?

The point being that the marijuana issue is far from over and the people who advocate for the full implementation of I-502 need to take a different approach if they want to be successful in areas like Yakima. When explaining to City Council Members why we need to allow the retail sale and production of marijuana the best argument is NOT insulting our intelligence but offering insight as to why you think we should create regulations and begin implementation.

There are valid points on both sides and if you are not passionate either way you may want to take time to study up and formulate an opinion.

Personally I did not vote for I-502 but I do respect the will of the voters who did. I also know that you have to tread lightly when the state and federal government disagree and I want to make sure as a City Council Member that I do my best to keep the city out of expensive litigation on both sides of this issue. I also know we do not have the votes for implementation so I personally voted yes to put the ban in place until we get some direction from the legislature or the courts. This is just the beginning of a very controversial issue, and believe it or not it's alright to not support the legalization of a mind altering drug and it's mainstream access. Although it comes down to a personal choice I do understand those that