Pasco community members weigh in on retail cannabis discussion

PASCO, Wash. — City council is asking the community to tell them what the people of Pasco wants for the future of retail cannabis sales.

Officials asked the conversation to stay focused around facts, data and studies to help the council members inform them for their decision making.

RELATED: City of Pasco asks the community for thoughts on cannabis sales

More people showed up for Pasco’s listening session than the average city council meeting. People were eager to share their opinions on what cannabis sales mean to them. They submitted written statements for city council members to read, as well as outright addressing the entire room.

One of the biggest issues the speakers brought up was how cannabis retailers would affect downtown Pasco.

“We worked too hard to clean our city up and I want to keep it clean,” said one long-time resident.

“This is absolutely the wrong signal by allowing the sale of cannabis in downtown Pasco,” said another community member.

Even some who are in support of marijuana distribution agree.

“Let’s not do it downtown. I agree,” said another community member. “But let’s find the spot, build it up, and let the adults play a little. Come on, man!”

Others think downtown Pasco hasn’t seen much improvement.

“I wouldn’t go to downtown Pasco now,” one man said. “You guys want to glorify downtown Pasco.”

Should the City of Pasco remove the cannabis moratorium?

Sourcing the homeless and drug problem seen around the City of Pasco, one man said marijuana had nothing to do with it.

“Why are we blaming retail cannabis for something that doesn’t—why are we blaming something that doesn’t exist, for a problem that does exist already?” He said.

West Richland, according to one person, has seen a thriving marijuana business that he said hasn’t had an effect on crime in the nearby neighborhoods.

“I don’t see their crime rates skyrocketing. They have it in one of the nicest parts of West Richland,” the resident said. “Everything still seems fine to me over there.”

However, despite the conversation about where or if to bring cannabis retailers to the city, one speaker said it’s going to happen, legally or not.

“I can still purchase cannabis in Pasco today. The choice is: do we allow illegal drug dealers to continue to dominate the market? Or do we allow the legal entity to come in and offer us lab tested, approved products and receive tax dollars in exchange for that?” He said.

He said he’s always been able to purchase cannabis in the city.

“I can buy it on Road 68, I can buy it in downtown Pasco. I can buy it a block away from here if I choose to. Nobody can stop that. But we’re allowing the wrong element of people to sell the product here in our area.” The same resident explained.

This wasn’t the only opportunity for the public to share their thoughts about retail cannabis. The city is holding a second listening session October 4th at 6:30 p.m. at the Pasco Police Regional Training Center, 204 W. Clark Street.