Pacific ponders ban on pot businesses

Pacific residents will get another chance to voice their opinions about the future of marijuana business in the city Sept. 8 at a public hearing before the City Council.

"My goal is to get as much public input [as possible], as many people letting the council know how they feel before they make any decision," said Pacific Mayor Leanne Guier.

At the regularly scheduled meeting after the hearing, the council expects to decide whether to establish another moratorium banning any marijuana businesses, recreational or medical for an additional six months.

The moratorium, which would last until the end of the year, would buy Pacific's council more time to decide which of four ordinances to pass.

The City's planning commission is reviewing four ordinances regarding marijuana, two that would allow and regulate recreational and medical growing, processing and retailing operations. A third would ban medical marijuana in the city, and the fourth would ban outright any marijuana businesses in the city. When its review process is complete, the board will forward one to the council for possible adoption.

According to Guier — as mayor, she may advise but cannot vote on the ordinances — she is leaning towards the outright ban.

"I don't want it, none of it," Guier said. "I cannot see one benefit it brings to the City. It brings no revenue to the City. I can only see the negativity it brings to the City."

Guier continued:

"Last Friday we had the police and fire department open house," Guier said. "When I looked around, it was so widely attended by families and little kids, and I looked at those little kids and thought, 'how does this benefit them?' They are a major part of this community. How do I protect them from anything that is brought to the city because of this?"

Among her key concerns is that crime may follow those businesses into the city.

"Say we authorize it and our surrounding cities don't, that just brings everybody to Pacific. And what does that bring? We don't know what that brings. There are a lot of different theories, but we don't know. I have nothing against it, and I know it was passed legally. And I know there are places you can buy it legally, but I don't see why Pacific has to be one of them."

With the majority of the money made by taxing recreational marijuana headed for state coffers, Guier said it just doesn't pencil out financially for the City.

"It's possible (my mind could get changed)," she said. "But I look at what it will cost the City. There is the possibility of increased crime because it's a cash-only business. There is the cost of code enforcement and the increased cost of doing business in the City of Pacific without any increased income coming back to our general fund or services."

Additionally, Guier said, she's concerned that a possible influx of marijuana businesses would change the flavor of the community.

"I think it just comes back to the unknowns and what is our vision for the future of Pacific," Guier said. "For me, it's this sleepy little community that people go to to get away from the big city atmosphere, where they go home and have a nice, quiet little community to raise their children.

"The only people I've had tell me they think it should be in Pacific have a vested interest, like a business or a grow," Guier said. "What I'm hearing from the community is 'no, we don't want it.'"

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