Urge Federal Way to continue marijuana ban

Fortunately for all, the people have once again made the right decision.

We have a democratic republic and our City Council is our chosen local ruling body. It is the job of the council to establish law and policy and to do what is right for the people of Federal Way. (Per a statement on the city website.) We elected them to deal with city matters that cannot be dealt with well by the people. The issue of whether or not to open marijuana shops in our community, voted on and clearly decided three years ago, should have fallen under this jurisdiction instead of going to a vote once again. But fortunately for all, the people have once again made the right decision.

The dangers of recreational drugs are well-known. We all know people who have been negatively impacted; yet widespread misinformation about marijuana abounds. Many people are deceived and misinformed.

The National Institute for Drug Abuse reports that use among youth is dramatically higher in Washington since the legalization of marijuana. Teachers, policeman and others in our schools are noticing the dramatic effects.

Making recreational marijuana more mainstream and accessible via pot shops will also increase its use and negative impact. We will see many unforeseen consequences and preventable problems escalate in our community if we legitimize it by opening pot shops. This is risky business. We need to pay attention to accurate information, listen to those who have experienced this already, and study it all very carefully.

Recent studies show a tripling of marijuana-related traffic deaths, an increase in serious brain damage, and psychosis, neurosis and anxieties of all kinds. Repeated marijuana use creates an inability to concentrate and function normally, shortens the lifespan, creates birth defects, and often creates an inability to accomplish one’s goals. We need to study these long-term effects as well as the effects of its recent legalization without adding yet another facet to the equation. It is at best hasty to bring this to a vote when so much accurate information is yet needed.

As an expert in inpatient adolescent treatment says:

“I have seen firsthand the destruction this drug causes. If you added up all the reasons for adolescents going to treatment—including alcohol—they would not equal the amount of adolescents going to treatment for just one drug alone, marijuana.There is now a push in our community to manufacture and distribute marijuana. Should we really be that easily influenced?…Let our revenue-making ventures be guided by the principle of the good of our entire [community], not on the false promise of money.”

This issue has recently become a highly political one rather than one simply involving the welfare of our community. It is not a matter of opinion or preference or politics; it is a matter of what is truly right to do.

One-third of the cities in Washington state have banned marijuana shops from their jurisdictions to protect their communities. We here in Federal Way should continue to follow suit.

As a mother, grandmother, teacher and citizen of Federal Way I ask our council representatives to promote the safest, healthiest and most life-giving option for our citizens. I ask our council and mayor to think more about the health and welfare of the city rather than financial shortfalls and the will of those who are pot shop owners and the misinformed. I ask them to support the pot shop free environment the people have asked of them and ban the sales of marijuana in the city always, which is in their power to do.

Please contact the council and tell them to support the no vote and to continue to ban marijuana sales from our city, at least until all are aware of its effects. As Thomas Jefferson said, “If we think [the electorate] not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion…the remedy…is to inform their discretion by education.” And this is what we all must continue to do. We cannot support the deception and risk that marijuana and marijuana shops present.

Patricia Conant

Federal Way

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