From the Mayor's Desk - November 2013

As we head into November it’s quite likely you’re hearing about our City Council weighing the pros and cons of getting into the marijuana sales business. To set the record straight I’d like to provide an update and invite you to join us at the first council meeting this month which will begin at 7pm on Tuesday, November 12th.

With the passage of Initiative 502 last year, the voters of Washington legalized the possession and use of marijuana within our state. The statewide vote was 55.7% to 44.3% in favor of legalization. Skamania County residents voted 53.26% to 46.74% in favor and the voters of North Bonneville favored legalization by a margin of 54.15% to 45.85%.

Almost a year later the implementation of I-502 is an ongoing process but one thing that is clear is Skamania County will have 2 retail marijuana stores in the near future. When the State Liquor Control
Board announced the number of retail locations that would be allowed throughout the state they allocated 2 locations to our county without specifying either location would be within the city limits of either Stevenson or North Bonneville. By taking an active role in trying to locate 1 of those locations in our city we feel we are putting our community in a stronger position to ensure the goals of I-502 will be met. These goals include helping finance local law enforcement and public safety, strictly controlling and regulating the market, preventing diversion of marijuana to other states, and preventing criminal activities, including distribution to minors.

At this time we are still in the discussion phase of this issue but one thing that is clear is if the decision is made to move forward the first step will be the creation of a Public Development Authority (PDA), a legally separate entity from the city. The PDA will apply for the license to operate the retail store. By law, no member of a PDA’s board of directors may be an elected official meaning neither I nor any member of our City Council will be a voting member of the board. Under state and federal law, all PDA contracts must specify that liabilities incurred by the corporation must be satisfied exclusively from their own assets.

There are still a lot of details to discuss before a decision is reached and we want to hear from all interested residents so please plan to attend our meeting on November 12th or submit your comments in person or in writing at City Hall or via don [at] northbonneville.net (subject: A%20message%20from%20North%20Bonneville%20website) (email.)