Questions & Answers
Have you already decided to open a marijuana store?
The city has authorized the PDA to apply to the State for one of the two marijuana retail licenses to be issued in Skamania County. Every applicant who is selected in the lottery process will be legally obliged to set up a retail outlet. The decision is not one of whether to open a store, but rather who will be opening it and what their sense of responsibility toward the health and safety of our citizens will be when they do.
Why is the city spending money it says it doesn’t have to pursue an unknown?
In this instance, the city is not spending but investing the money. They have wisely made the PDA a small loan from funds generated by tourism and not by local taxpayers. We have committed to repaying that loan with interest regardless of the license application. An emergence of the thriving Gorge community North Bonneville could be is the other expected return on this investment. The best way to insure that no tax dollars are lost in this venture is to make sure it never needs any.
What will it cost the city if the PDA doesn’t succeed?
Aside from the estimated $10,000 a month in publicly available funds once the store is fully operational, there is, of course, still the costs of whatever additional law enforcement and/or other safety measures that still must be provided. If we do nothing, we leave the city open to the expenses of lawsuits already threatening those towns who continue to moratorium. Then there is the loss of those considerable revenues associated with the economic growth this store could undoubtedly foster.
Will the influences on our children and our family oriented town be negative?
Minimizing the possible negative influences upon our children and our community values is what your PDA is most committed to. We believe the best avenue to that end is not through perpetuating unjust restrictions, but rather through parental and community guidance, example and education. It will require the whole town’s participation to keep some of the problems solved.
If the PDA loses money who will pay?
All of us and in more ways than just the loss of a few thousand dollars. We will lose the only opportunity we will have to get out ahead of what everyone agrees might be trouble. We would also be loosing out on the potentials inherent in the very idea of a Public Development Authority and the broader implications for community enhancement.
Are there too many “unknowns” with regard to state processes that can change and federal vs state laws?
The number of uncertainties regarding process and the law are fewer actually than has been indicated as the city learned from their initial research. A letter from the State Attorney General’s Office in response to Mr. Anderson’s request for a lawsuit against the PDA declines to act for ‘lack of standing’ because they are sworn, as are we, to defend the duly enacted laws of the State of Washington. In that, we see the sign of things to come.
How will use be controlled? Will Gorge Days become a smoke fest?
Possession and use of marijuana has been legal in Washington since the 2012 general election which means it was legal during every Gorge Days since and no such fest has occurred. The laws against public consumption of any intoxicant remain in effect as always and it appears they are mostly being obeyed.
By whom and how will the quality be regulated?
Quality control standards for the growers and processors who will be licensed along with the retailers are well set forth in Initiative 502. Since we are prohibited from buying product from any other source, their quality controls will necessarily be ours as well. We will at least be able to monitor it over time and sustain quality standards higher than the established ones if we choose.
How will this compete with shops in Clark County?
In the same ways our local businesses do now. The region has always had a challenge attracting visitors. This is but one of several ways the PDA hopes to encourage that very thing.
Will it still be cheaper to buy on the black market?
The effect of a black market on this or any legal commodity becomes the purview of law enforcement and if we can shore them up to the task, we trust they will be able to minimize it. Black markets only exist because of the laws prohibiting the sale and possession and to avoid taxation. Seems logical to expect this black market to respond to the same dynamics.
Will this harm the safety of our children and our homes?
Additional resources for Public Safety and the challenges this enterprise could bring to our town is among the many things your PDA is committed most to mitigate. The experiences of similar operations elsewhere have been researched and no real evidence of increased crime rates has been found. While that may be encouraging, we still are intending to be as completely prepared as possible. That will, of course, be much easier with everyone’s help.
Won’t this hurt the reputation of the city?
We are aware that if something doesn’t change here, the reputation of a failed municipality will be far less desirable than any negative opinions our enterprise might inspire. We have observed quite the opposite, in fact. A number of media outlets have already reported our actions as progressive and forward thinking including an article in the Nov/Dec issue of City Vision Magazine published by the Association of Washington Cities.
Will this decrease property values?
The reality is that our property values are already at record lows. It’s hard to imagine how being in the forefront of an emerging era with the increased tourist traffic, greater economic opportunities and a national media presents could lower property values any further.. The only way appears to be up.
Won’t people leave our town because of this?
Perhaps. And we would hate to see good people go just to avoid this issue, for they will have to leave the state of Washington as well as North Bonneville. We have to place our allegiance with the deserving folk who don’t or can’t leave. Indications are that many fine folk will be moving here because of the peripheral economic opportunities likely to grow up around this business.
If you have any other questions or concerns, your PDA wants to know of them. Write to us at our email address northbonnevillePDA [at] gmail.com (subject: Regarding%20NBPDA) . Our meetings are, always open to the public and we invite you to attend. Meeting times and locations will be posted on the door to City Hall, in their newsletter and on the website. Come help us lead the way into the new era with minimal disruption of our cherished way of life!