Pasco moves towards pot ban

Pasco moves towards pot ban »Play Video
PASCO, Wash. -- The City of Pasco is on track to become the first of the Tri-Cities to ban recreational pot sales. Pasco City Council directed their planning commission to begin drafting a city wide ban that could go into effect before pot stores open statewide.

“Does Pasco want to be a leader in the marijuana changes that we have happening,” asked Mayor Matt Watkins. It was the theme of Monday night’s meeting and council spent much of their time trying to answer it.

“If we say yes, do we become a Mecca of marijuana growth,” asked Councilwoman Rebecca Francik. No one was able to answer her directly, the fact is there is little known about what would happen and arguably less about what could happen.

“It's still against the law federally,” said Mayor Watkins, reminding the council of the oath they all took to uphold city, state and federal laws.

The state has capped Pasco to four recreational pot stores, another would be allowed on the outskirts in Franklin County. The state still has yet to make a decision on collective gardens; medical marijuana grows that remain heavily unsanctioned. When it comes to recreational grow operations, there are strict guidelines and a lottery for licenses.

“This region is different than that region,” said Councilman Bob Hoffman referring to Seattle. “This region has spoken…prohibition on gardens and everything else is a wise decision to make." “I don't see anything positive coming out of this," said Councilman Saul Martinez, adding if he had to vote, he would vote in support of a ban.

City Council requested the commission to draft a ban and present it in the next few weeks. As of Monday night's meeting, the ban discussion included collective gardens, which would affect those wanting to grow marijuana for medical purposes.