WASHINGTON: This community of corn fields and dairy cows could soon be growing a more controversial commodity.
Aspiring marijuana farmers have filed two applications with the Washington Liquor Control Board to locate along State Route 409, the main drag across the island. The applications have thrust the rural area into a debate facing communities across the state — despite voter approval of Initiative 502 in 2012, should marijuana businesses be allowed in communities that may disapprove of it?
“I just don’t believe that we need it here in the county,” said Wahkiakum County Commissioner Dan Cothren said. “It sends the wrong message to our youth.”
Wahkiakum County native Shane Kehrli, 26, and partner Chris Bianchi, a Wahkiakum County resident for three years, are seeking state approval for a 2,000-square-foot or bigger marijuana grow operation called Natural Paths in a building owned by Kehrli’s father.
About a half mile down the highway, transplanted New Yorker Alfred Rizzolo wants to establish a marijuana growing and processing business at a shuttered gas station. Rizzolo, who grew medical marijuana in Hawaii, wants to call his Puget Island venture the Land of Lizzards. It would contain about 1,500-square-feet of grow area.