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Standing room only at Benton County Planning Commission meeting discussing pot amendment

Standing room only at Benton County Planning Commission meeting discussing pot amendment in Prosser.

PROSSER, Wash - People from all over Benton County went to the Planning Commission's regularly scheduled meeting in the county seat to let the council know how they felt about proposed changes to where recreational marijuana can be sold.

It was standing room only and those in charge of the room had to keep reminding speakers that they were only voting on a change to the wording of the law, not the actual law. The change will clarify how many dispensaries are allowed in Benton County, and if they can be replaced if or when one closes down. Still, most in attendance wanted to talk about one specific dispensary, set to be built on unincorporated land in Benton County.

"These are my children," said concerned Richland mother, Dar Zurcher, as she held her phone up with a picture for the council to see, "I don't want them growing up around this. Its so close to schools. Its so close to bus stops. I just cant believe ... this."

Amy Hill, also from Richland, said she would prefer the wording stay the same, but she thinks the state needs to rewrite the entire law, "to make sure that this is regulated, to make all of us safe. And to make sure that people who really need this, who can't get it at a pharmacy, can at least have access to it."

At least 15 people shared their opinions at tonights meeting which ended as a stalemate, with two planning commissioners voting against the amendment, one for it, and one abstaining.

Because of the gridlock, the amendment now heads back to the Benton County Commission, and they will decide if the wording will change.

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