King County Executive Dow Constantine responds to letter writer about pot stores


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EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an open letter by King County Executive Dow Constantine, written in response to a Letter to the Editor from Mark Johnston posted on our site site The White Center Blog on July 26, 2016 (read the original here):

Dear Mr. Johnston,

I write in response to your open letter on the White Center Blog regarding the equity and social justice impacts of the County’s marijuana zoning. I share your concern that the benefits and impacts of marijuana legalization be equitably distributed across King County.

Immediately after passage of Initiative 502, I convened an interbranch team to analyze the many policy issues surrounding legalization. This team included staff from Executive agencies, Public Health, and the County Council, along with representatives from the Sheriff’s and Prosecuting Attorney’s offices. One of the team’s first tasks was to establish shared principles to guide its work. These included minimizing disproportionate siting and neighborhood impacts, and avoiding siting of multiple businesses in close proximity to one another.

The work of this team informed the development of my initial proposed marijuana zoning, which allowed retail stores in the County’s few remaining commercial zones. These zones are located in White Center and Skyway, but also in Fairwood and Briarwood, and in unincorporated areas near Duvall and Federal Way.

When it became clear that the private market was focusing development of retail shops in White Center and Skyway, I proposed an ordinance to address concentration impacts by requiring a 1000 foot buffer between stores. The County Council adopted the new 1000 foot buffer (along with grandfathering, which I did not propose), and called for further study to inform the County’s land use approach to legalization.

Efforts to disperse marijuana uses will not be successful without help from our regional partners. Many cities have enacted bans and moratoria on marijuana uses, placing more pressure for retail shops to locate in jurisdictions that allow them. I have raised this issue with the leadership of the Sound Cities Association, and will continue to encourage all cities to do their part to lay the foundation for fair and appropriate implementation of the state marijuana law.

There is no issue of greater importance to me and my administration than equity and social justice for all residents of King County. I appreciate your thoughts and I invite you and the Skyway and White Center communities to work with us as we continue to refine our approach to marijuana legalization.

Sincerely,
Dow Constantine
King County Executive

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Comments

16 Responses to “King County Executive Dow Constantine responds to letter writer about pot stores”
  1. Peter says:

    Translation:

    “Dear Mr Johnston,

    Blah, blah, blah, blah.

    Sincerely,

    Dow Constantine.

  2. Robbin Campbell says:

    I have noticed that since Washington passed the law to legalize pot;
    The crime rate here has tripled;I feel that if people are stoned they have no fear.
    Stoned people do things they would not do if they are not stoned;Such as try to rob someone or speed and cause accidents;I think we need to take our streets back from
    the stoners;I am sure I am out numbered on this…Every time I turn around there is another pot store where there is already lots of crime..

    Sincerely Robbin Campbell conserned Voter
    I live in Burien was raised in White Center

    • Peter says:

      Okay – this is anecdotal, but I have noticed more pot smoke emanating from cars since this law passed. Gone is anything remotely like a stigma, or reluctance to smoke in public, or be stoned in public. And you can’t tell me that the ones smoking are the passengers in the cars. I think by legalizing it, we are setting ourselves up for real problems in the coming years.

  3. Big J says:

    Mr. Campbell says, “I have noticed that since Washington passed the law to legalize pot. The crime rate here has tripled…..”

    First – Washington voters voted to legalize pot – period.
    Second – Where has the crime rate “tripled”? It is a false claim.
    Third – Burien has no pot shop and there is no good reason as to why not.

    I’ve lived in Burien since 1969. I am a retiree and a home owner who has raised 4 good kids. I choose to smoke pot 3 or 4 times a week. It is my legal right. Open up a pot store in Burien and stop the stalling and misinformation. Oh, I have no criminal record.

    • Peter says:

      There are things that are legal but not available everywhere. You might have a legal right (currently) to smoke/buy weed in the state of washington, but you do NOT have the right to buy it anywhere. And local communities can regulate, via zoning, etc. what kinds of businesses can be opened in the area.

      Btw, what does being a homeowner since 1969, that raised 4 good kids have to do with anything? If only elderly types smoked dope, (and not young adults) then perhaps there would be less harm (although the roads would arguably be even more dangerous).

    • Jimmy says:

      Burien is getting two locations they are just in the process of opening.

  4. Question Authority says:

    Two stores with in the city limits are under going permitting right now and at least one is doing interior build out. Tax revenue for the community is coming and a lot of it. And as mentioned up the thread the smell is more noticeable due to the new strains, not necessarily from an uptick in usage. When I retire I’m hitting the bong after what will be 35 years of work related forbiddeness.

  5. Jimmy says:

    I have consume cannabis for about 20 years and have no criminal record and know exactly what I am doing when sober or stoned . I also have plenty of friends and family that also consume cannabis and have no criminal records and also know exactly what there doing when sober or stoned. Also most cannabis consumers know how to consume in moderation. Oh yeah all these people have also have or had successful careers in life and fully functional brain’s.

    Some people think driving high on pot sounds crazy but if you know your limits you can actually drive safer then you would if your where sober and 100% safer than being drunk. It also really depends on the person and there driving experience and consuming in strict moderation. This not something a first time consumer of corse

    • Elizabeth says:

      From Today.com – ” A new report by the American Auto Association (AAA) has found that the percentage of drivers who are high on pot during fatal accidents in Washington State more than doubled between 2013 and 2014.”

      • Jimmy says:

        Actually those results can be a little off because it does not prove the person was high at the time of the accident or just had thc in there system since thc can stay in your body for weeks after consuming. The tests for thc can’t prove if someone was high or got high hours or weeks prior to the incident.

        Also the main stream media always tries to blame the pot not the kettle because in most these accidents the person ‘s involved have had alcohol in there system at the time of the accident to.

      • Jimmy says:

        Here is a link that explains this a little better from AAA news room website
        http://newsroom.aaa.com/2016/05/fatal-road-crashes-involving-marijuana-double-state-legalizes-drug/

        See Elizabeth you only posted a snippet of the article the full article explains the difference in the test results.

    • Peter says:

      This is your brain on drugs:

      “I have consume cannabis for about 20 years and have no criminal record and know exactly what I am doing when sober or stoned . I also have plenty of friends and family that also consume cannabis and have no criminal records and also know exactly what there doing when sober or stoned. Also most cannabis consumers know how to consume in moderation. Oh yeah all these people have also have or had successful careers in life and fully functional brain’s.

      Some people think driving high on pot sounds crazy but if you know your limits you can actually drive safer then you would if your where sober and 100% safer than being drunk. It also really depends on the person and there driving experience and consuming in strict moderation. This not something a first time consumer of corse”

      Any questions?

      • Jimmy says:

        Really Peter if want to prove me wrong use facts not cut and pasted things and try to change something I said into your uneeded trash talk.

        Because this is a adult discussion about cannabis not a trash talking fest.

        • Jimmy says:

          See Peter this is called facts not cut and pasted trash talk

          http://newsroom.aaa.com/2016/05/fatal-road-crashes-involving-marijuana-double-state-legalizes-drug/

          There is no science showing that drivers reliably become impaired at a specific level of marijuana in the blood. Depending on the individual, drivers with relatively high levels of marijuana in their system might not be impaired, while others with low levels may be unsafe behind the wheel. This finding is very different from alcohol, where it is clear that crash risk increases significantly at higher BAC levels.

          High THC levels may drop below legal thresholds before a test is administered to a suspected impaired driver. The average time to collect blood from a suspected driver is often more than two hours because taking a blood sample typically requires a warrant and transport to a facility. Active THC blood levels may decline significantly and could drop below legal limits during that time.

          Marijuana can affect people differently, making it challenging to develop consistent and fair guidelines. For example, frequent users of marijuana can exhibit persistent levels of the drug long after use, while drug levels can decline more rapidly among occasional users

  6. Mark J says:

    From the letter: “One of the team’s first tasks was to establish shared principles to guide its work. These included minimizing disproportionate siting and neighborhood impacts, and avoiding siting of multiple businesses in close proximity to one another.”

    As a result of the county’s initial marijuana zoning regulations, 14 of 17 retail marijuana stores have been licensed in White Center and Skyway within the first two years of marijuana store licensing, in 4 different clusters in the two communities. One store in each community would be proportionate to their population.

    Somewhere, the county’s goals got lost in the legislation that was eventually passed. These attempts to justify the process by our County Executive really defy belief at this point.

  7. Steve says:

    Free ebook

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