As of Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Community members continue to speak up about opposing marijuana retail stores in Sunnyside.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, six individuals spoke up during the unscheduled appearances portion of the meeting.
Although the council hasn’t yet been presented a proposed ordinance related to legally allowing marijuana retail sales in the city, people want the council members to consider the potential harm it could cause.
LaDon Linde was the first to speak, followed by Sunnyside Astria Hospital representative Brian Gibbons.
Gibbons said the hospital, as a healthcare facility, is interested in the overall well-being of the community.
“Marijuana doesn’t advance health,” he said.
Instead, healthcare professionals, and the hospital as an organization, believe marijuana is a gateway drug. As such, it is believed it will lead to addiction to other substances.
“We already have an opioid crisis,” Gibbons said.
School Board President Sandra Linde spoke, stating the school board and School District is also opposed to the idea of allowing retail marijuana sales in the community.
The School Board, she said, typically doesn’t weigh in on City Council matters because there is a trust between the Schools and the city.
“This is an extraordinary issue,” Linde said.
The potential impact could be detrimental to the more than 6,800 students in Sunnyside, she said.
Michelle Perry, representing herself as a parent, is also a School Board member.
She doesn’t want a dispensary because of the potential message it could send to children, that the community doesn’t have an issue with marijuana.
The community has worked diligently to overcome a negative image, Perry said, concerned the reputation of the city will be harmed.
Larry Hill also spoke, stating he doesn’t know what decision will be reached regarding the issue, although he is opposed.
If the council decides to adopt an ordinance allowing recreational marijuana retailers to open shop, he asked there be a limitation on the number of retailers allowed.
Also speaking up was Saul Marquez. He said he worries about the safety of his children.