Pot stores in Tri-Cities, or no?

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Tri-Cities leaders are still making decisions about pot stores, now that the first one in our area opened in Prosser. Each city has a moratoriums in place which means no stores can open. But this is only temporary. So each city is weighing the idea of making that ban permanent, or reversing it altogether. KEPR looked at where all three cities currently stand.

The legalization of pot has brought a multitude issues. Between growing, processing and selling, it's now in the hands of the cities. And that doesn't sit well with Kennewick's Mayor, Steve Young.

"It's put on the shoulders of the cities to manage, administer, to take care of and implement with not a single penny of revenue from this business. That's not treating this business like other businesses," said Young.

It comes down to one thing for Mayor Young.

"It's an issue of dollars and cents," he said.

He doesn't like selling weed in his city if Kennewick doesn't benefit from it. Most of the money made from taxes goes back to the state.

"Regardless of the fact that the state voted yes overall, we still represent 80,000 people in our city," he said.

Kennewick city council is expected to make a final vote on the fate of pot by the fall. Over in Richland, Mayor Dave Rose says he doesn't care about the money. He wants to legalize recreational pot shops so sales can be regulated.

"My take on it is I would like to legalized a retail outlet because I feel we need to be able to when and where marijuana can be sold and purchased," said Rose.

But Rose's council would need to agree with him. And right now, it appears Richland leaders are split on the issue. Like Kennewick, the decision to lift the ban or make it permanent will come down to a vote.
Pasco already made a permanent no vote on pot shops. The Kennewick mayor would like to see the three neighboring cities make a unified decision, ideally. But he won't stress over it.

"It very easily could be Richland who could go a different way and here we are, neighbors, one selling and one not selling. So all of that plays into it. But my concern is my city."

West Richland and rural Franklin County also have temporary bans on sales. But rural Benton County does not. They are worried about being sued by those who wish to open the stores and are denied.