By David Wuller
On the evening of July 8, the Eatonville Town Council rushed the passage of an ordinance specifically written to prevent businesses selling medical marijuana within town limits. This was a shameful, mean-spirited and even shortsighted act.
This took place after last month’s council meeting at which they were informed by a local businessman that he intended to open such a business. There is to be no second reading of the ordinance, and it is to be effective within 10 days of its passage.
Little notice, if any, was given to the public so they may have any input.
Does the council believe it is serving the people’s interest by denying them locally available prescription medication? People will have to go out of town for medication (and probably take their shopping out of town while they are at it). These prescriptions are as valid as any other. Remember, at the center of all this is the health and well-being of our family, friends and neighbors. Is this any way for the council to treat their constituents?
As for the short-sighted part of the equation, medicinal marijuana in all its forms (including oils, tinctures and edibles), are legal in this state and have been for a couple of years. We can not hold back the tide. We are to become the equivalent of a “dry” town at the expense of the health of our citizens.
Not allowing such businesses in town is going to hit us in the wallet. At a time when the town is in desperate financial trouble and businesses are closing, are we going to turn away much-needed income from sales taxes? Are we to just let the business and taxes go to unincorporated Pierce County and other towns?
The ordinance effects not only medical marijuana, but also the recreational variety, too. I do not smoke it and never have. However, it is now legal, and when it becomes available through liquor stores next year, this ordinance will prevent the sale of it in town, as well.
Again, this will be an inconvenience to a wider segment of the public and also result in an even larger loss of taxes to the town, as well as added income or employment.
For the sake of disclosure, I own the property on which the Eatonville dispensary is to open. As a result of the council’s actions, I am to be deprived, or any other landowner, the right to rent my property to a business engaged in legal activity as recognized by the state of Washington. Other local businesses are to lose out, as well – for example, the sign painter, hardware store, telephone company, maybe others, too, such as computer sales/repair, office suppliers, grocery store and restaurants, etc.
I hope that the public will voice their disapproval of the town’s actions and ask that it rescind the council’s decision for the sake of the health and welfare of its people and in the interest of the town’s coffers.
David Wuller is an Eatonville resident.