In the last few months as I have worked to get the ordinance banning cannabis stores overturned in Federal Way for the benefit of my community, I have had some head-scratching moments while interacting with my neighbors. Let’s talk about them and bring some facts to the table, not just scare tactics. I have heard people talk about cannabis stores in a way that seems like they think that if the stores don’t exist, then people won’t use cannabis products. I don’t think they actually feel that way but that’s how some people talk. No ban on stores will stop anyone from using cannabis.
Cannabis is legal in Washington, and Federal Way is behind the times in benefitting from the sales of it, period. I have heard people who have repeatedly scrutinized our budget in Federal Way, claiming they want more money for social programs (often for kids or seniors) say that $300,000 in tax revenue is not a lot of money. I wonder if the naysayers understand that in the last budget our city was only able to allocate $50,000 over two years to one youth program. That’s it — $25,000 a year for one program, but yet they don’t see the financial support that $300,000 might provide to many programs? To deny that is to be willfully imperceptive.
I have heard outrage over the idea of new taxes in our city, especially on the backs of homeowners, but yet those same voices deny the fact that the money collected in sales and marijuana excise tax will help improve our city without burdening the masses.
I have sat and watched as our neighbors look at Prop 1 supporters and deny the time it takes to travel to a nearby cannabis store by bus. The lack of compassion for people who do not have easy access to transportation disgusts me. Some people are unable to drive due to medical conditions. Some people do not have transportation and are in extreme pain, but somehow it’s OK to say, “We don’t care if you’re in pain — make the two hour trip to get your meds — oh well.” The privilege in this specific argument makes my heart hurt for those neighbors experiencing these struggles.
I have heard the willful denial of how safe these stores are. Contrary to what the con side wants you to believe, crime rates do not increase around cannabis stores. I don’t make up facts either — I ask questions and nearby city officials from Des Moines have called their retail store a “Great business partner in our community” when asked about concerns around safety and the like. In addition to that, there is an ID check twice (at the door and at the register) with each purchase so there is very little concern about underage access.
I repeatedly hear the argument that there are not enough decent jobs in Federal Way, while ignoring that each store will create many family wage employment opportunities. With each store averaging 20-25 employees, that is potentially up to 100 new family wage jobs right here in our community.
And of course, like you, I have heard about the kids. Ohhhhh the kids!! “How dare we think about bringing a retail cannabis store anywhere near there are kids who might walk past these stores. What sort of message are we giving these poor, feeble, naïve minds?” opponents to Prop 1 will say.
To that argument — I often laugh. I went to high school. I used to teach high school. I know what happens in a high school. If you think that students have a hard time getting cannabis (and many other illicit drugs) on school grounds, you’re just plain unaware of the culture of the average high school (or middle school for that matter).
The con side of the Prop 1 issue wants you to believe that by allowing these stores we are giving the message that “Weed is OK!” for our kids. This is just a slippery slope fallacy! There is no evidence that youth usage increases in any significant way when there is local, safe, legal options for the 21+ crowd to access. In fact there is evidence that black market cannabis actually suffers in communities where there is legal product available.
In a world where children are dying from fentanyl laced pills and black market cannabis, it would be in our best interest to make sure there is easy access for adults to the product so we don’t lose our children to “dirty” product.
I have also watch my neighbors, with intent, ignore the argument that alcohol is legal, close to schools and causes much more damage for adults and kids alike than cannabis.
I have asked why there is no outrage about “the kids” being exposed to nearly naked women in local coffee shops, offering a normalizing effect concerning sex work for young people.
I said at a city council meeting once “You cannot take moral authority on one issue but not another”.
I stand by that statement.
On a very personal note, I take exception to the recent opinion letter from Jack Walsh making the insinuation that the only people who care about this issue are the family who holds the business licenses for these stores. They are the family that will own the majority of the businesses, yes. They are not the only people who truly care about this issue. I have lived in Federal Way for six years and I have been looking at this from the lens of “what is best for our city” in regards to the issue and that’s why we are here today. The work I’ve done this on the on the ballot, period. At the end of all of this, I do not have any long-term benefit from the outcome of Prop 1, I just truly believe that revenue and access matter to my neighbors’ quality of life.
I also know that if you do not like cannabis, then when Prop 1 passes and the stores open, it’s an easy decision for you — -don’t visit the stores! As a good neighbor you shouldn’t be limiting others access their medication easily and if you really love Federal Way as much as you say you do, then you will honor the benefits that these stores will bring all while not affecting your life one bit!
A YES vote for Prop. 1 will bring much needed revenue without new taxes to Federal Way.
A YES vote for Prop. 1 will likely reduce black market cannabis in schools creating a safer environment for our children.
A YES vote for Prop. 1 will offer additional funding to support programs that are currently unfunded due to a lack of financial resources.
A YES vote for Prop. 1 will create access for many community members who don’t have easy access to the cannabis they use as medication.
A YES vote for Prop. 1 will align with our city motto of “Centered on Opportunity” by creating local, family wage jobs.
A YES vote for Prop 1 is actually a vote for the betterment of Federal Way.
Please don’t believe the lies being told to scare you, the facts are facts.
Vote yes on Prop 1.