Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park), as chair of the Council’s committee on issues related to economic development, issued the following statement after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his intent to change the federal government’s approach to legalized marijuana:
“Seattle, with critical vision and leadership from the cannabis industry, has approached marijuana legalization diligently and responsibly, and developed thoughtful and reasonable City regulations for how marijuana establishments would operate in our communities. We barred dispensaries from opening near schools, libraries, parks, child care centers, or playgrounds recognizing the federal government’s interest in maintaining public safety and distancing businesses from children. Critical to this successful outcome has been the creation of cannabis trade organizations that, very early on, promoted good business practices with community safety and business responsibility as central to their mission.
“As a city where marijuana growers and retailers are good community partners, and contribute to economic development, the federal government’s new approach is both alarming and disappointing, especially when there are much more significant issues to address.
“Seattle currently hosts approximately 42 retail locations, and dozens of related businesses. Our City has been allocated $569,891 in 2018 tax proceeds due to marijuana sales. Statewide, marijuana revenues support substance abuse programs, community health centers, the state’s portion of Medicaid, dropout prevention programs, and many other priorities. Minimizing the bad, old underground cannabis market has made our communities safer. I hope the Western Washington United States Attorney recognizes that ending or scaling back marijuana legalization in Washington would have far more reaching implications than one might think.”