When will there be marijuana stores in Pullman, Washington? The stores were authorized on November 6th, 2012 by the passage of I-502. The State is creating implementing regulations, and the federal government has suggested that they will not oppose the stores as long as the drug is kept out of the hands of minors. However, the Pullman City Council has announced that they are planning a moratorium prohibiting the stores. See article. The State of Washington announced that they plan on licensing three different marijuana stores in Pullman starting in June 2014. Although the city is proposing a moratorium, they are not planning on trying to stop the stores all together. This is in contrast with Pullman’s earlier position on marijuana dispensaries which they sought to prohibit entirely.
The City of Pullman is planning zoning regulations to spell out where the stores can be located in city limits. While I-502 is a state law, most lawyers agree that zoning regulations are the prerogative of a local municipality. When the Obama administration announced that they would not shut down licensed marijuana stores in Washington, they made it clear that keeping the drug out of the hands of minors was their top priority. Since this announcement, many cities announced plans to keep the marijuana stores certain distances from schools and parks. Keeping marijuana stores aways from “minors” might be a challenge in a city such as Pullman where half the population is under 21. It will be interesting to see what influence WSU will seek to exert over this issue. WSU has already announced that they intend to fight marijuana possession on campus irrespective of I-502.
Despite the decriminalization of marijuana possession under I-502 the drug will still be legally perilous for college students. Here is why:
- If you possess marijuana before you are 21 you will face criminal charges and a suspension of your driver’s license.
- The police in Moscow are ready to pounce on anyone bringing the drug across the border.
- If you are under 21, it is illegal to drive with any THC in your system.
- The WSP stops a lot of college students traveling between Pullman and the Seattle area.
- Sharing marijuana with a person under age 21 is a major felony, and is far more serious than furnishing alcohol to a minor.
Although I can see why the school might not be excited about an influx of legal marijuana, I can’t help by wonder if the drugs use might be an improvement over the mayhem that occurs every year as a result of alcohol abuse. The binge drinking in Pullman has led to a lot of assaults, rape charges, alcohol poisonings, accidents, etc. It would seem that the presence of marijuana couldn’t possibly add to these statistics. It would seem that college hill would be quite a bit different if marijuana was the only drug used. In the September 11th edition of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the story of the city’s moratorium was on the front page. Below the story was another story about how an intoxicated student fell down a flight of stairs at the Delta Chi house and was in satisfactory condition at Pullman Regional Hospital with possible fractures.