LETTER: Resident concerned about density of pot stores in White Center

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

III King marijuana store's parking lot is also used as a school bus stop

The parking lot for this state-licensed marijuana store in Skyway is also used as an elementary school bus stop.

The parking lot for this state-licensed marijuana store in Skyway is also used as an elementary school bus stop.

As a result of the passage of Initiative 502 by voters statewide in 2012 and the incorporation of medical marijuana into the state-licensed system by the legislature in 2015 there are now 7 state-licensed marijuana stores in White Center. In Skyway there are 5 licensed marijuana stores, including one whose parking lot is used as a school bus stop. Meanwhile, right across the street, Seattle has been limited to 44 stores by the same state regulators. It would take 221 stores for Seattle to have the same density of stores as the state has licensed already in White Center and Skyway. Similarly across the street in Burien, the regulatory limit is only 2 stores. Burien’s population is estimated to be just over 49,000, versus approximately 35,000 in White Center and Skyway combined.

This is our government at work, but why is it so insistent on installing this new poverty industry so pervasively in these communities of color? One difference is that these are unincorporated communities directly governed by King County rather than a city government.

Let there be no mistake, local marijuana advertising at this level of intensity will have a desensitizing effect on children and youth to this adult drug. The negative effects of this ill-considered “regulation” of the industry will be felt in these communities for years to come.

I am deeply disappointed in the failure of King County government to act to impose a reasonable limit on the number of stores in its small communities in response to this issue. Community members have been reaching out to our local government since the Washington Liquor Control Board (its name at the time) selected 4 retail marijuana store sites between White Center and Skyway when 1 site for both would have been more in line with its regulation for a city with the same population. It seems in retrospect that when the number of voters affected is limited (the two unincorporated areas combined had less than 16,000 registered voters as of the 2012 general election) the small constituency involved faces an extremely uphill battle to sway the status quo in their government. It’s even more disappointing that this cluster of stores is being accomplished in 2016 in two of the most diverse communities in a county which has proudly named itself after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and that has with great fanfare adopted an equity and social justice mandate.

Mark Johnston
Unincorporated King County resident

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20 Responses to “LETTER: Resident concerned about density of pot stores in White Center”
  1. GooseGander says:

    and yet I am assuming this letter writer has no similar problem with liquor stores. nice double standard!

  2. Smoker says:

    Damm…time to move ….Burien is so behind the 8-Ball….Thanks for the info B Town…..

    • Question Authority says:

      The old KC’s restaurant across from Fred Meyer is in the permitting and build out process right now, stay and support your local business and the taxes that will be going to Burien – when and if they open?

      • John says:

        I agree its a great source of revenue like alcohol which btw is a much more powerful mind altering addictive drug!
        Plus an Alcohol OD can be fatal (unlike marijuana).

        I think it sends the wrong message to children when the see adults buy beer at your local GAS STATION!
        It destigmatizes drinking and driving!

  3. Jack Block Jr. says:

    And the market next door sells beer and wine, just like every convenience store on every corner. Did you ask the guy walking by what he has in his bag? Being Skyway I bet it’s a 40 of Malt Liquor. Looks to me like a safe place for a school bus to stop alongside a busy road to pick up and drop off kids. Apparently White Center has a lot of dope smokers, otherwise the market wouldn’t support the number of stores there. What’s the problem?

    • Top Hatter says:

      The problem Mr. Block is we are an unincorporated area in King County. We do not have to resources to deal with all the crime that comes with these stores. The Nimbin store on 1st Avenue has been robbed 4 times already! One block down on same street (1st Ave) you have the West Seattle Cannabis store. Now they are opening another one across from Bombay Grille where the barber shop was located. Please explain to me why Top Hat which has a small population needs 4 stores within a two block radius? This letter brings up a great point. Why are they being placed in areas that are already considered low income, and do not have the necessary resources to deal with the extra traffic?
      West Seattle just got it’s FIRST recreational store last month. Burien is building their store now. Why dump them all on us? Is this the same thing as when Seattleites and Burian residents come to my neighborhood to buy their fireworks, shoot them off, and leave us to pick up the trash? Sure sound like it. If you think White Center or North Highline are getting a cent in marijuana revenue, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona for you.

      • Question Authority says:

        King County is going to let all of it’s urban unincorporated areas wither away and the only thing left will be pot stores bringing in income they will spend elsewhere, your all screwed.

    • Pat LeMoine says:

      Welcome to a free market economy otherwise referred to as supply and demand. Believe it or not people come from outside our community to shop at these stores. Why? I suspect that many have no legal supply in their neighborhood, I know some. I personally welcome these stores to my neighborhood. I get a great sense of freedom and a smile on my face every time I drive by them as opposed to the sense of Orwellian dread I got during the drug war era.

      • Top Hatter says:

        Actually Pat this is not an example of a free market economy.
        A market economy is an economy in which decisions regarding investment, production, and distribution are based on market determined supply and demand, and prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system.
        How is this an example of a free market economy again? If what you say were true then West Seattle or Burien would have 4 times the number of Pot stores in their neighborhood since the market could support it due to numerous factors such as population and income.
        The market didn’t determine that we should put 1/4 of all King County pot stores in an area of 35K people that does not have a functional local government.

        • Pat LeMoine says:

          Simple, there is a demand so the stores offer the supply. If there is to much supply them some of the stores will fail. I suspect that this is an example of Evolution-In-Action. If you put hindrances on something you will get less of something. If you benefit something you will get more of something. I would put a high probability that your concerns are the result of it being easier and more beneficial to start a pot store at the county level then the city level. The people of Washington voted to transform the pot industry into a legal regulated one. I hope you are not suggesting we drive it back into an unregulated underground industry where kids have better access to it then adults.

          • Mark J says:

            The whole notion that this is supposed to be a market place where supply and demand rule is simply a myth under current state law. It’s a regulated market.

            The liquor industry was similarly regulated for 78 years after prohibition ended and the Liquor Control Board was instituted before liquor was allowed to be sold in retail stores.

            We’d like to see the same standards and quality of regulation applied in all communities, not just in some …

  4. Burien Human says:

    Democrat politicians need more paranoid and dumb people to vote for them.
    Pot stores on every corner. Keep em stoned and stupid!

    • odubya23 says:

      Because we all know that there never was an unintelligent Republican. The kind that might believe that Sadam had nuclear weapons?
      The problem with both parties is that they must both draw from people to fill their ranks. As to whether they are smart enough to truly understand and appreciate whatever they might vote for or against, well, just keep that in mind the next time someone thinks it’s a good idea to cut taxes by defunding education spending.

  5. Question Authority says:

    With the potential losses of both cash, product and safety any pot store should step up their game and utilize this proven high end retail and Government security method. Create a double door entrance way room with cyber locks, come in off street through the first door and be stopped by the second, show your ID to the guard behind the glass while looking at the camera’s. Upon approval get buzzed in, but if you still feel the need to rip them off you can run for the door and make it out through the first one, but not the second. All while they lock the one behind you and let your dumb ass wait for the Cops in the chill out room. Having to be buzzed in while facing a camera takes the crime urge down notch and this could easily pay for itself with the lack of crime from then on. I personally have encountered doorways like this in both the military and private sector and they work.

  6. jimmy says:

    This same guy has been having this argument since July of last year


    If he is so concern about this bus stop issue has he contacted the school district in that area to see what they can do. possibly move the bus stop a 100 feet. Looking at google there happens to be a little area right after that parking lot in the picture above in front of the Vue mobile home park at 12929 Martin Luther king jr way south there looks tobe a little gravel area a few feet away from the road.This might be where the bus stop is actually at not sure seems like a good spot for bus stop.

    Also in what I have seen of the shoppers at nimbin pot shop have been about 80% white Caucasian

    Not mention if this mark is so concern about how this look on king county after being name after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. then why doesn’t he take the time to go talk to younger African Americans that have been known to illegally resell there medical marijuana outside some the medical locations in white center and most likely sky way to.

    Or hunt down the 3 African American males that rob at gun point the nimbin pot shop back in late October and put a gun to a older lady’s head. See if these people feel that the county is purposely putting into to many pot shops in these areas. Do they just feel they need sale a gram ghetto trashy pesticide filled weed for $20 telling people “nah dog it’s gram and half trust me dog I gotchu it’s that medical stuff ya herd” or something of that nature so they can buy some other drugs or fence stolen items or sell drugs to anyone of any age.

  7. Chaz Domingoson says:


    If you are upset now, just think in 10 yrs the corners will be filled with cocaine stores since marijuana has always said to be a gateway drug……………..

    • jenny says:

      Opium dens to open soon, too.

      • Jimmy says:

        Let’s see if you get a nose job the typical prescription medication given is pharmaceutical cocaine. Then if you goto the dentist for a root canal or tooth extraction usually your given a prescription for some type opioid medication Vicodin or Percocet. That’s been that way for years. These so called medications people can overdose rather easily on. But with pot you would have to inhale about 23 pounds of pot smoke and you still not from the pot but from smoke inhalation. Also with moderation pot is not addictive people that get addicted to pot would get addicted to any thing.

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