Clark County Council doesn’t change stance on legal pot

No member of the Clark County Council signaled that that they had a change of coronary heart relating to the county’s restrictions on pot following an almost 2 half -hour particular work session on hashish Wednesday night.

The wide-ranging work session was the second the council has held on the subject this yr because the county has thought-about lifting its ban on leisure companies it’s had in place since leisure gross sales have been legalized in Washington.

In current months, the county has begun rethinking its place after leisure pot outlets have sprung up in Vancouver and Battle Ground and Oregon legalized the drug in 2014.

Republican Councilors Jeanne Stewart and Eileen Quiring have remained steadfastly against lifting the county’s restrictions. Councilors John Blom and Julie Olson (additionally Republicans) have expressed some curiosity in lifting the ban. Council Chair Marc Boldt, no social gathering choice, had beforehand been open to lifting the ban however later reversed his place.

The matter has turn out to be a problem on this yr’s council elections. But on the conclusion of the work session, no councilor indicated their place had shifted.

The work session did present insights into the legal, regulatory, monetary and social results of legal marijuana in Clark County. Here are a couple of of them:

Regulations

One of the said causes for having the work session was so the council might hear from representatives of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. According to board numbers, there are 4 holders of retailer licenses in Clark County and 9 producer/processor licenses.

Joanna Eide, coverage guidelines coordinator for the board, described the rigorous background checks individuals needed to move to get a license or course of hashish. She famous that as a result of the drug is against the law on the federal degree, the business has restricted entry to banks and operates virtually completely in money. Both Stewart and Quiring requested questions relating to how the state has stored marijuana from being bought on the black market and the way it might account for the money within the business.

Eide responded that the state has strenuous controls that monitor companies’ gross sales and marijuana at each level within the provide chain. Jim Mullen, CEO of The Herbery (which has three places in Vancouver), confirmed to the council that his enterprise is very regulated.

“The expectation for inventory compliance is 100 percent 100 percent of the time,” he stated.

He stated that many marijuana entrepreneurs danger their 401(okay) financial savings on investing within the enterprise and take care to ensure their licenses aren’t jeopardized by falling out of compliance. He stated he shares the aim of protecting pot from being accessed by youth or being diverted to the black market. He added that comfort of legal pot shops that provide merchandise examined for pesticides reduces the attain of the black market.

Mullen, who can also be board president of the Washington CannaBusiness Association, stated that he has 52 full-time staff who obtain full medical and dental protection.

“Cannabis is here in Clark County,” stated Christy Stanley, who owns three leisure shops and is operating for council chair. “You all will just have to decide if you want it here illegally or not.”

Enforcement

The council additionally heard from Sgt. Bill Sofianos, supervisor of the Clark-Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force, on how legal marijuana has impacted regulation enforcement. Sofianos introduced dispatch knowledge on requires service going again two years that discovered that marijuana shops had larger requires service than surrounding companies.

For occasion, Main Street Marijuana had 128 requires service whereas a close-by tattoo parlor had two calls throughout this time interval. Many requires service to those shops concerned undesirable people harassing clients or housebreaking.

He additionally stated that since 2015, the duty pressure has acquired 160 citizen complaints relating to marijuana possession, odor, manufacturing and distribution all through Clark County.

“We rarely, if ever, get the phone calls saying, ‘I’m really glad my neighbors are smoking marijuana,’ ” he stated.

Sofianos additionally cited a research from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission that discovered that whereas it’s “unknown what role marijuana alone plays in fatal crash risk, it is clear that marijuana mixed with other substances, most commonly alcohol, is contributing to fatal crashes in Washington State.”

The council additionally heard from Emily Sheldrick, chief civil deputy prosecutor, who famous that the U.S. Department of Justice underneath President Donald Trump has given federal prosecutors extra leeway in bringing costs towards leisure marijuana companies. However, she stated federal prosecutors haven’t introduced expenses towards anybody in Clark County associated to licensed retail marijuana or manufacturing operations.

Finances

According to Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board numbers, Vancouver and Battle Ground generated $53.eight million and $2.5 million in gross sales, respectively, for fiscal yr 2018. The two jurisdictions noticed a tax distribution of $498,420 and $37,333, respectively. However, Clark County receives none of this distribution due to its ban.

Mark Gassaway, county finance director, introduced an estimate of how a lot cash Clark County was dropping based mostly on inhabitants and proportional gross sales. He stated the county misplaced between $575,000 and $625,000 in income for 2018. He stated in 2020 the distribution will improve by 25 %, which he stated would put Clark County within the vary of $725,000 to $750,000.

Public well being

Public Health Director and Clark County Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick introduced knowledge from the Healthy Youth Survey, which is run by the state Department of Health.

He stated the numbers present that after retail marijuana turned out there, danger to youth has not elevated. He additionally pointed to numbers displaying that 10th-graders stated marijuana has been more durable to get since legalization.

“The bottom line is youth use has not gone up in Clark County or in Washington state since retail marijuana became viable,” he stated.

The council additionally heard from Dr. Phillip Drum, a pharmacist from California who wore his white lab coat whereas presenting. In a packed presentation, he laid out wide-ranging proof of the dangerous results of pot seeming to hyperlink it to crime, mortality, rising homelessness in Colorado and the diminishing life expectancy nationally.



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