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Oct. 24, 2020

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Woodland City Council rejects allowing retail pot sales in city

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter
Published:

The Woodland City Council has again rejected retail marijuana sales within city limits.

The council, in a 4-3 vote Tuesday night, rejected an ordinance that would have allowed sales in the city’s highway commercial zoning district.

Community Development Director Travis Goddard said Tuesday that the city considered such an ordinance after an applicant wishing to begin a business in the city requested the zoning change. Taxes from the sales would have added between $40,000 and $120,000 to the city’s annual revenue, Goddard previously wrote in a staff report.

Washington voters approved recreational pot in 2012. But the city council had since banned recreational sales.

Several people commented on the ordinance, some in favor and others against. Commenters primarily focused on the general concept of marijuana legalization.

The arguments in favor of marijuana largely rang familiar — including its less-harmful status compared to other substances; the tax revenue that would have been generated; and its remedial uses. So, too, did the arguments against: potential adverse effects on users and attracting unwelcome behavior to the city.

City Council Member Benjamin Fredricks, citing the ordinance, voted against approving the agenda at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting and made a motion to table it before the vote. The motion to table it was seconded by Council Member Carol Rounds, but it didn’t pass.

During the roll call vote on whether to approve the ordinance, Council Members Monte Smith and Janice Graham joined them in voting against it.

Clark County narrowly voted against the statewide measure in 2012 by 50.32 percent. But attitudes about the drug have changed since then, Council Member DeeAnna Holland said.

“I think you are grossly underestimating the amount of weed that is smoked in this community,” Holland said. “Things have changed, people’s opinions have changed, and in eight years, the (federal government hasn’t) swooped in.”

Several council members noted that they were torn about whether to approve the ordinance.

Council Member Dave Plaza said moments prior to the roll call vote that he had not decided which way he was leaning. His name was called last and, after a brief pause, he voted in favor of the ordinance.

“It’s a tough one,” Plaza said.

Columbian county government and small cities reporter
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