Concerns About Areas First Recreational Marijuana Retail Shop Opening Soon

The first recreational marijuana shop in our area is getting ready to open in Prosser.

Some of the people living in Prosser had no idea their city was allowing a recreational marijuana shop to open up.  

The city staff said Initiative 502 legalized recreational marijuana and they are treating the shop as they would any other business.

Prosser's Peggy Brown has been protesting outside of city hall and in front of a local chiropractor's office. The chiropractor is an investor in the area's first recreational marijuana retail shop, Altitude.

Brown said this shop isn't in the city's best interests.

"We have to much crime in the Valley as it is, we have an exorbitant amount of crime dealing with gangs moving in and I see it as a really bad example to our kids," said Brown.

City planner Steve Zetz said since recreational marijuana is legal in the state, the city of Prosser could be sued if they tried to stop retailers who have gone through the lottery from opening up a shop.

"Permitting and licensing is issued by the state liquor control board, they're the ones issuing licensing, we treat it like any other applicant that applies for retail business," said Zetz.

In January Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a statement stating cities and counties can ban or regulate marijuana businesses as they see fit.

Zetz said that opinion does not keep the city safe from a lawsuit if they were to ban it.

"We looked at what the Attorney General said however does not mean the city would not be subject to a lawsuit," Zets said. "The Attorney General offered up an opinion."

Brown said they city shouldn't run the government based on fears that they could be sued.

"I don't think that's how you should govern your city," Brown said. "You need to govern by what's best for your citizens including your children."

Local chiropractor Tim Thompson, an investor in Altitude, the recreational marijuana shop said this shop will help regulate marijuana usage and be good for other businesses in town. 

"We expect this to bring hundreds if not thousands of people to Prosser every single day not only are they going to be stopping at Altitude our store they're going to utilize the other businesses in town,” said Thompson.

Brown doesn't see it that way, and she is upset she didn't have a say in the shop opening until it was too late.

The City Council has set aside some time during their next meeting to hear residents’ concerns.

Brown said she will be there to voice her opinion, but doesn't think it will change anything.

“I am not so naïve to think that is anything but throwing a dog a bone,” Brown said. “It's already set in stone, they’ve already got the store going, but they need to be held accountable to their taxpayers and citizens about what they've done and keeping this thing under wraps."