West Richland residents concerned over lack of communication reg - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

West Richland residents concerned over lack of communication regarding new marijuana shop

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6-23-17 UPDATE:

WEST RICHLAND, WA - When you ask residents in the Mountain Meadow neighborhood in West Richland, many are opposed to the approved location of a new marijuana dispensary...but they say it isn't necessarily because of marijuana itself.

"It's an incompatible use with this neighborhood," said Daniel Richey, a neighbor. "We're not set up for the traffic. We're not set up for the policing of this. This is Benton County. Do you see any Benton County Police out here? The police that are going to have to respond to the problems are the ones that I pay for."

Richey says he'd be upset no matter what the business would be, if he thought it would interfere with the quiet neighborhood he's grown accustomed to.

For others, it's all about a perceived lack of communication between the state and Benton County to the local residents.

"The biggest issue is that there was a 20-day window for input on this business and the license being transferred from Prosser to here," said neighbor John Muenks. "The problem is you have to be aware that the business is being moved here to provide input and that communication did not happen."

"There was no communication, we literally as a neighborhood found out Monday night as a rumor," said Tracy Carter. "I texted several other neighbors who knew nothing about it."

Reporter Rex Carlin spoke with Benton County Commissioner Shon Small, who says the responsibility is on the state for approving a location for a license, and that it's out of the county's hands.

He says Benton County has crafted a letter to the Liquor and Cannabis Board, asking them to reconsider the location based on some of those same concerns the neighbors have.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board wrote a letter to the City of West Richland today, stating technically the preschool located near the property doesn't fall under one of the restricted entities under state law...so the 1,000 foot law doesn't apply in this situation and saying the location is indeed a legal property for a dispensary.

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6-22-17 ORIGINAL STORY:

WEST RICHLAND, WA - The City of West Richland is asking the State Liquor and Cannabis Board to revoke the license of a pot shop moving into a small piece of unincorporated land surrounded by the City.

West Richland has banned marijuana stores, and they say the store would be located too close to a preschool.

Reporter Rex Carlin learned that this started when the man who holds the license - which originally held a Prosser address - requested a change in location for that license.

As far as Benton County is concerned, the man fit the criteria needed to move into the given space: he bought the property, which happens to be zoned for commercial use, a requirement for pot shops; it's in an unincorporated piece of land; and he got a building permit to convert the house on the property into a retail shop.

Benton County Commissioner Jerome Delvin says the state notified the county of the change in address in March.

"They apparently made an offer to the people who owned it, and then he requested a license change with the State Liquor and Cannabis Board, to change the address," Delvin said. "They gave them the change. I think the county was notified in March of the change in address."

A big issue though, is the distance between the shop and a preschool.

State law says a marijuana store must be at least a thousand feet away from schools and childcare centers.

Rex reached out to the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board to find out why The Garden LLC was approved to set up shop in a location defined as against the law by state regulations, but they haven't gotten back to him.

Now it's in the Liquor and Cannabis Board's hands to decide whether or not to revoke the location on the license, which we estimated as the bird flies to be about 875 feet door-to-door away from that preschool.

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