Let’s talk about trust. I serve as the vice-chair of the Commerce & Gaming Committee in the Washington State House of Representatives. This is the committee that reviews the laws regarding the legal sale and distribution of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis in our state and ultimately in our communities. We provide oversight to the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), which is the state agency that regulates the sale and distribution of alcohol and cannabis.
I serve on this committee as an economic developer who knows the revenue these industries bring in supporting education, human services, and community investments, but also as a mom who wants to make sure our kids are prepared to make smart decisions about the impacts these substances have on their health and well-being.
I have a front-row seat to the efforts of the federal and state governments in regulating a product that voters of this state chose to make legal. Just as I trusted the voters to decide whether I would serve, I trust them to make the decisions best for them and their families.
In 2012, voters of this state passed Initiative 502. Fifty-three percent of Federal Way voters approved the measure.
In 2015, 61% of the citizens of Federal Way then voted to exclude the city from licensed retailers.
The world has changed a lot in the four to six years since the voters approved legalized cannabis and the residents of Federal Way voted to ban it.
We have a much stronger state enforcement agency. Do we trust the LCB to enforce the law?
Do we trust our council and code enforcement officers to enforce the law through appropriate permitting to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the public?
Do we trust our kids to make smart choices when presented with the right information?
At the end of the day, the arguments for and against allowing licensed cannabis retailers within our city limits is about trust.
Just as I trust the local police to enforce the law regardingalcohol consumption, tobacco use or the misuse of prescription medication; just as I trust the LCB to regulate alcohol and tobacco licensing, and just as I trust the city to permit those establishments under the rule of law, so too, do I trust that allowing a legal substance that is well regulated by the federal and state governments and further regulated through the permitting process at the local level, can be appropriately integrated into the fabric of our community with our kids, equal access and revenue generation in mind.
Kristine Reeves is a state representative of the 30th Legislative District.