WASHINGTON: Many cities in Washington state are trying to ban or block new state-regulated pot stores.
North Bonneville, population 1,005, is not one of them.
A city some see as a Chevron station just west of the Columbia River’s Bridge of the Gods, North Bonneville not only wants a pot store — it wants to own a pot store.
Mayor Don Stevens figures that would give the Skamania County city more control of a store they’re likely to get anyway — and more revenue.
“We have a longstanding relationship with law enforcement. We have a vested interest in maintaining the health and welfare of our community. And someone else who might be granted a license might not have the same concerns,” Stevens said.
On the question of North Bonneville becoming the first Washington city to own a pot business, only three residents stood up and disagreed with the mayor at a public hearing Tuesday.
And they were pretty tame. John Mobley mostly had questions. Susie Strom, a drug- and alcohol-prevention coordinator, implored the City Council to slow down and think more about children.
Jim Goldring agreed, asking, “How can the city operate a store without an adverse impact on youth?”
Five residents supported the city becoming a pot dealer, some reluctantly.
“I don’t want somebody coming into the community where I walk my 6-year-old and making money off getting people high,” said Rachele Rice. But “if it’s coming here … I want to see that money benefit the community.”
The council voted 3-to-1 to take the pioneering step and apply for one of the state’s 334 retail stores. Councilmember Charles Pace stressed that in no way was he encouraging customers to illegally take pot across the river to Oregon, or making a statement on national drug policy.
“We’re doing this for North Bonneville,” Pace said.