Yakima City Council Backtracks On Legalized Marijuana Businesses

WASHINGTON: One councilwoman’s change of heart has the Yakima City Council suddenly looking like it will backtrack on allowing the growth, processing and sale of recreational marijuana in city limits.

Councilwoman Maureen Adkison was one of four council members in early October to defeat a proposed ban on marijuana. But toward the end of Tuesday’s council meeting, Adkison announced she had reconsidered her vote and moved to ask city staff to draft legislation that would prohibit any licensed marijuana operations in the city.

“I really thought long and hard about this after my last vote,” Adkison said. “A lot of things kept coming back to me.”

Adkison said she believes legalized marijuana will make it easier for the city’s youth to have access to it, although under the voter-approved law it would only be legal to sell marijuana to state residents age 21 and older.

Councilwoman Maureen Adkison

Councilwoman Maureen Adkison

Adkison quickly received Councilman Dave Ettl’s backing, and they, along with Councilmen Rick Ensey and Bill Lover, approved a motion asking staff to draft a prohibition. Council members Micah Cawley, Kathy Coffey and Sara Bristol opposed the motion, largely based on concerns that it opens the city up to litigation to establish its own exemption to the law.

Adkison’s initiative Tuesday night, which wasn’t included on the council’s agenda, overshadowed discussion on affirmative votes to begin implementation of a downtown revitalization plan and to move approval of the city’s 2014 budget forward.

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