Yakima City Council Will Pursue a Portion of Pot Tax Revenue - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima City Council Will Pursue a Portion of Marijuana Sales Tax Revenue

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Yakima City Council Members said they're prepared to defend cries of hypocrisy over their latest marijuana vote. Yakima City Council Members said they're prepared to defend cries of hypocrisy over their latest marijuana vote.

YAKIMA, WA - Yakima City Council Members said they're prepared to defend cries of hypocrisy over their latest marijuana vote.

It all started with this letter from the Association of Washington Cities. They're asking for mayors across the state to come together, saying there will be extra costs associated with legal marijuana like going after drugged driving and keeping it out of criminal or juvenile hands.

Some call it hypocritical, some call it responsible. Despite the City of Yakima's all out ban on processing, selling and growing marijuana, city council members voted unanimously to join efforts in asking the state legislature for a portion of marijuana sales tax revenue.

The city said just because you can't grow and sell it here, doesn't mean you can't possess and use a certain amount.

"You don't really have a choice as a city, when it comes to sometimes being forced by the state what you're going to do," said Mayor Micah Cawley. "If they force us to implement it and we say we don't want to be a part of the funding, then we hurt ourselves and that aspect of it."

Yakima Police Chief Dominic Rizzi said it's going to cost more to arrest people for driving while high on marijuana.

"We have to do a blood draw," said Chief Rizzi. "We have to do a search warrant. We increase our time that it takes to process these DUI's by nearly 50 percent."

Police said they'll also have to ramp up their number of drug recognition experts, again with a cost. Some people we spoke with agree with the council's decision.

"I think it's responsible," said Jannet Zavala. "If they're allowing people to carry a certain amount than they should be allowed to have a certain amount of money to back up any situations that can occur."

Others are calling city council members hypocrites. No one wanted to share their criticism on camera, but there were plenty of remarks on our Facebook page.

Some of them include, "Yakima banned it so no you shouldn't get any profit from it."

Or "Can't have your cake and eat it too. No sales, no sales tax."

The city said they're prepared to defend their position.

"A lot of it's punitive toward the city," said Council Member Dave Ettl. "We didn't get our marijuana stores so you shouldn't get money of any kind for whatever, and it's done more as a punishment rather than a thoughtful consideration of what the city will have to deal with."

Other cities in Central Washington that are on board with this notion include Pasco, West Richland, Prosser, Toppenish and Union Gap.

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