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Talk of marijuana shops in Snohomish stirs public

There was a line of people extending outside the door waiting to speak to the City Council on marijuana last week.

SNOHOMISH — Last week’s discussion on marijuana drew almost 40 people on whether Snohomish should allow recreational marijuana businesses or continue its prohibition on the businesses.
The City Council was not expected to take a vote. No major decision was reached except to come back to discussing this topic at the Tuesday, Sept. 2 council meeting. The current marijuana moratorium expires on Oct. 15.
The biggest issue was youth on marijuana.
Recreational marijuana proponents argued that marijuana could not be legally sold to anyone under age 21 and a retail store in town would not provide teenagers access to pot. A dominant share of the 16 speakers said the city shouldn’t open the door at all.
“As a city, we should not involve ourselves in that endeavor (of retail marijuana),” Garnet Hizzey said. “It sends a wrong signal to our young people and social problems are likely to emerge.”
Many mothers seemed concerned with the idea that marijuana would become a normal, accepted thing. Others argued that it already is and the voters have spoken through Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana sales for people over 21.
“This is a democracy, not a mom-ocracy,” council critic Morgan Davis said. “The majority of voters in Snohomish, Lake Stevens and Arlington voted for I-502. It’s time Snohomish join Lake Stevens and Arlington (two neighboring cities that legalized marijuana in industrial zones). Don’t be swayed by the vocal minority, respect the will of the silent majority of Snohomish voters. Embrace I-502, it’s the law.”
One concerned Snohomish mother, Pam Elliot, recently formed a group against pot retail stores in town called N.O.P.E. (No Operational Pot Enterprises) and told council members she has gathered 275 signatures against retail pot.
Two Snohomish teachers spoke out against bringing recreational marijuana to town. “I would love to tell you that I’ve never had a student come to class high,” Glacier Peak high school teacher Carolyn Coombs said. “I would love to tell you that I’ve never had a student tell me their dealers aren’t their parents, but I can’t. I see the residual effects over the course of the year. If we acknowledge at a public forum that drugs are on the rise, then why would we make recreational marijuana legal?”
Another mother gave a different outlook on the issue.
“I believe our general public is misinformed,” Kylie Loynd said. She theorized that the general public’s focus on anti-marijuana is a creative marketing stunt by funded anti-marijuana groups to distract from other issues such as “over medication, premature release of under-tested pharmaceuticals, which is the basis for big pharmacy support, and harmful misuse of prescription drugs,” she said.
Two proponents for retail pot spoke to council: Josh Shade and Dave Kois.
Kois, who said he will be opening a recreational marijuana store in Centralia, made a few zoning suggestions to council based on his experience in the recreational marijuana industry.
Shade said marijuana is already in town.
“There’s marijuana in your city, why not regulate it so the children can’t go get it,” Shade said. “If I’m not here, the kids are still getting to marijuana. Why not regulate it? What about freedom of choice? You have the choice to do what you want if you are an adult.”
The City Council is expected to come back to the issue at its Tuesday, Sept. 2 meeting.

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