At the heart of the debate was whether it would be hypocritical for the council, which banned the growing, processing and sale of marijuana within city limits, to seek tax revenue raised by businesses in cities that do allow them. But the five council members in attendance agreed with staff that easier access statewide could have a local impact on law enforcement.
“I’m prepared to defend cries of hypocrisy from now until whenever,” Councilman Dave Ettl said.
Alison Holcomb, criminal justice director for the ACLU of Washington and author of the initiative, said the law was written to dedicate funds to statewide public health and safety efforts, but she worries local governments are trying to skim some of that to boost their general funds.
She said it is hypocritical for cities that banned pot businesses to seek funds generated from those businesses. Holcomb said the Yakima City Council only contributed to the problems law enforcement may face when it voted in January to ban pot businesses.
“They’re continuing to contribute to the problems of illegal sales and illegal activity, and they should not benefit from continuing to contribute to this problem,” Holcomb said in a telephone interview from Seattle.