Pasco Police Department opposed to lifting ban on marijuana retail sales in the city

Pasco Police Chief Ken Roske said the ease of access to marijuana sales to the area youth would be irresponsible.

PASCO, Wash. – Pasco Police Chief Ken Roske responded Thursday to a request for comment on marijuana retail sales in the City of Pasco.

The city held two meetings in September and October to give community members the opportunity to voice their opinion on the future of retail cannabis sales. One of the biggest issues brought up during these listening sessions was how cannabis retailers would affect downtown Pasco. Some said they agreed with how lifting the ban could benefit the city as they believed it had other surrounding communities. However, many said if the ban was lifted, they wouldn’t want it downtown.

“It’s just location, location, location,” one man said. “You want to open a marijuana shop? Put it in the industrial park, let’s try it out.”

Others said they want the buildings downtown filled.

“My business is empty. I would like to put a retail store there,” said one property owner.

While these listening sessions were attended by people who both opposed and supported lifting the ban, the Pasco Police Department has stayed quiet on the issue publicly until now.

In a statement released to KAPP-KVEW’s Rylee Fitzgerald Thursday, Chief Ken Roske said lifting the ban would cause more trouble than good for the City of Pasco and that lifting the ban would be irresponsible, especially for the youth in the community:

“The Police Department is not supportive of lifting the retail sales moratorium that is currently in place. The effects of marijuana on our youth are extremely concerning, and any efforts to increase the ease of access to marijuana sales would not be responsible. 

 Increased crime associated with retail sales would add to the challenges the police department is already facing. Failing to address corrections to the Blake decision is hampering law enforcement efforts to mitigate the harmful effects of drugs in our communities. Opening more access to marijuana sales will only add to the critical drug use we see today. Marijuana is a gateway drug to more devastating narcotics, like fentanyl, and these harder drugs are having catastrophic, deadly effects on our community. Any opportunity to increase access and availability of drugs, even legal marijuana, in our city would be a step in the wrong direction.” – Ken Roske, Chief of Police

At this time, members of the Pasco City Council said the issue will be discussed further. The council said a decision could take up to a year to be made final.

This is a developing story and we will continue to keep you updated as further information is released.