A new coalition in Prosser is taking shape at an intersting time, right as the area's first recreational marijuana retail shop is about to open in that town.
It's called the Community Involvement Action Coalition or the CIA for short.
The goal is to build a healthy community and prevent youth substance abuse.
The CIA took shape thanks to a state grant Prosser was given after being ranked, in a state survey, as the city in Benton County with the highest risk for continued substance abuse.
One of the goals of the CIA is to reduce teens' access to drugs and alcohol.
Another is to reduce the acceptance of the use of these drugs in teen social circles.
CIA community coordinator Jennifer Dorsett said the new recreational marijuana retail shop going up in town isn't helping their mission.
She said it is discouraging and going to increase young people's access to marijuana.
"Hundreds maybe thousands of people will be coming to Prosser, but it's going to bring hundreds maybe thousands of drug users to Prosser and I don't think people think how that affects our youth just having it around and people seeing lots of people going in and out of the building," Dorsett said. "It shows our youth that it's okay or a community norm and that's exactly what we are trying to prevent."
Dorsett said the CIA wants to work on adding or changing community policies to help achieve their goals.
She said she hopes to get the marijuana retail shop owners on baord with these policies and the coalition in general.
A spokesperson for the shop said they would be open to talking to the coalition and helping them keep marijuana away from under age teens.
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