Commissioners soon to make decision that could heavily affect po - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Commissioners soon to make decision that could heavily affect pot shops

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BENTON COUNTY, WA - The Benton County Commissioners decided to pass Titles 6 and 11 of the marijuana ordinance. The final decision taken today by the commissioners means that there will be no new processors and growers.

Title 6 allows the Benton County Sheriff's Office to enforce medical marijuana growers that receive complaints of sight or smell. It would not allow any marijuana grows outdoors that can easily be seen or smelled by someone in a private property with a house.

In order to enforce these regulations, Commissioner Shon Small says one of the goals is to get most of the grows indoors.

"Benton County is seventeen-hundred square miles," Commissioner Small said. "It's not like we are going to be able to go out and there and actually take a look at everyone. The bottom line is we are going to be responding on complaints. If the sheriff was driving by and sees a marijuana grower of some sort, they would be making contact with them as well."

One thing that was implemented by the commissioners is giving permission to the planning department to look at Title 11 and give the sheriff's permission to enforce the sight and smell of recreational marijuana as well.

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BENTON COUNTY, WA - Tuesday is a big day for the Benton County marijuana ordinance - with potential changes in store.

"It's a little bit more high stake, because if you do make a mistake you can never come back," said Steve Lee, Owner of Green 2 Go. 

For Lee, opening up his store was already hard enough. With possibly more rules, there will be no room for error for any local retail stores.

On Tuesday, Benton County commissioners will consider a permanent ban on new marijuana production and processing facilities. Lee told us how stores like his could be impacted.

"In a healthy community is that when one of those licenses goes out of business for any number of reasons, another business can take that spot and open up," Lee said. "If you have four businesses and one goes out then you can bring another one back in. In a banned community, when one of those business goes out it never comes back."

One of the biggest issues in the Finley area are the illegal growers, and complaints of the marijuana smell throughout the town... sparking more debate between supporters and opponents of recreational marijuana. But, whatever the commissioners decide, Lee - who also serves as mayor pro tem in Kennewick - has a message for them.

"If the county commissioners do move forward, they will find that there is a larger list of people looking to run for their office," Lee remarked.

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