Thursday, December 3, 2015

Federal Way Washington City Council Bans Marijuana

Even after voters agreed that marijuana should be legal, the Federal Way city council apparently thinks it is doing what the constituents want by banning marijuana in their city.

It doesn't matter if it is medical or recreational, the city council says no.

In an article over on the Federal Way Mirror's website you can see some more information.

Apparently after 502 passed statewide, Federal Way had its own city-level vote to determine next steps.

Federal Way put a moratorium on marijuana-related businesses a while ago, last spring.

Then recently, Tuesdays Council meeting, Federal Way City Council unanimously voted to ban medical and recreational.

The Moratorium on marijuana in Federal Way was ordinance 15-788. The moratorium was a temporary emergency measure intended to stop all marijuana business from taking place in Federal Way until voters and council members can investigate further and make a decision.

Council bill number 697 was put into place which repeals the moratorium months before this temporary road block runs out (May 2016).

Council Bill 697 will be the Federal Way ban on marijuana that takes effect in less than 30 days.

Federal Way had an advisory Proposition (Prop 1) on the general election ballot. Folks in Federal Way seemed to vote in a way that indicates they do not want marijuana businesses in their town.

This seems to go against data like the actual vote on 502 (they can see how many people in Federal Way voted yes on 502 to legalize marijuana statewide) which shows Federal Way folks want marijuana to be legal.

Some quotes from city council members can be found over on the Federal Way mirror article:

Mayor Jim Ferrell had this to say:

"The people of this community spoke loud and clear when they voted by 61 percent to say no pot shops in Federal Way and I am a firm believer that public policy needs to be a reflection of public will," 
He went on to say
 "That's why I think this decision at this time is the right one by the council."

Some more information about the city-level vote can be found over on the Federal Way Mirror website. Since 9 thousand voted no while 5 thousand voted yes, which led the council to make it official that "marijuana is not welcome in their town".
From the article:

9,117 voted no (61.4 percent), while 5,737 voted yes (38.6 percent), despite the 53 percent of Federal Wayans who voted in favor of legalizing marijuana statewide in 2012 with the passing of Initiative 502.

Councilwoman Kelly Maloney had this to say about Federal Wayans voting to rid their town of cannabis:

"I made the commitment for my vote to reflect the result of the advisory vote, which was a clear mandate from our community, at 61 percent voting against locating recreational marijuana businesses in the city," said Councilwoman Kelly Maloney. "After several years of discussion and research, I believe this decision was appropriate."
Susan Honda From the Federal Way city Council said this:

"The vote did surprise me as I expected it to be much closer," she said. "However, our voters said that they did not want marijuana sold within the city limits. I promised to support what our voters wanted and so I voted with the council to not allow sales in the city."

I think this is one of the most important pieces of the story. It basically says that Federal Way citizens vote in larger numbers for statewide issues. When it comes to the city level stuff there is less participation. Cannabis lovers in Federal Way should be aware of this. Pro-cannabis voters in Federal Way just might be asleep at the wheel on city-level issues. 
If you know anyone who lives in Federal Way tell them to check out the Safer King county Facebook Group. Participate in this group and interact with other folks in King County who like t-shirts that say "marijuana is safer than alcohol". Share important information and receive important information shared by other cannabis lovers in King County. Help your friends in Federal Way remember to vote on these city level ballots. 
I'm glad someone in Federal Way made it to the meeting and spoke to the City Council before they voted, even though her words didn't seem to change their vote. Her name is Catherine North, and I appreciate her very much
More from the article on the Federal Way Mirror's website
Catherine North spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting and urged the council to vote against the ban.
"Prohibition didn't work before and I don't think it's going to work again," North said. "There is no comparison in the number of deaths from drunk drivers versus drivers driving while under the influence of pot, and young people, minors, can walk into any 7-Eleven or Safeway or any other grocery store, any Walgreens, where there's hard alcohol. And to say that we don't want pot shops because of the kids makes no sense to me."

Some of the city council members brought up the fact that a majority of Federal Wayans voted on a city level to keep the weed out of town. 

You can read more over at the article over on The Federal Way Mirror's website.

One good thing about the ordinance is that it does not stop qualified patients who grow their own and share with other patients. 

From the article: 
While the proposed ordinance prohibits businesses from selling or growing medical marijuana, it does not address qualified patients or designated providers from individually growing marijuana at home or in a cooperative.

The article points out how medical marijuana store fronts will have to receive an endorsement similar to a recreational marijuana license since 502 and 5052 passed. This could make it very difficult for patients in Federal Way.

Apparently the mayor used to support the introduction of marijuana businesses in Federal Way after he saw the way people voted on the state-wide measure to legalize marijuana. He changed his mind when the results from this city-level vote came in. 
From the article:
"My support of marijuana in communities was rooted in the support of the public on this measure when I-502 passed," Ferrell said. "That's why this clarifying election was so important. As a public policy maker and somebody who, and every person on the council, wants to do what the majority of people want."

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