Letters to the Editor

Pot at K2 would be bad for Vashon for a variety of reasons

As the owner of property adjoining the K2 site and a 20-year member of the Vashon community, I strongly oppose situating a marijuana factory there. While I support marijuana legalization and participated in efforts to find a use for the K2 facility, marijuana production is not the solution.

First, such an operation would have dubious legality. Large-scale marijuana production remains a federal felony subject to a 10-year prison term. Although the Obama administration wisely decided not to enforce federal marijuana laws in Washington, a Christie or Rubio administration would exercise no such restraint. A legitimate business could become the target of federal enforcement with a single executive decree.

Second, a marijuana factory at K2 could threaten public safety. Large-scale marijuana production creates a highly valuable, compact and fungible commodity. The factory and its transportation corridors could become a target for robbery and theft. Vashon has just two sheriff’s deputies to patrol on an island the size of Manhattan with no backup. This is inadequate to protect such a lucrative and vulnerable enterprise.

Third, a marijuana factory at K2 would devastate neighboring property values and undercut Vashon’s image as a family-friendly community.

Significantly, all other proposed King County locations for marijuana production are industrial. For the same reason that strip clubs are separated from neighborhoods, locating a marijuana factory a half-mile from Chautauqua Elementary is problematic. The area around K2 is steadily improving with a new performing arts center, businesses and residences. This progress would be reversed with a marijuana factory in the neighborhood.

This issue should not become a sounding board to debate marijuana use or evaluate the dubious wisdom of our national drug policies. Rather, we should engage in a dispassionate analysis of whether or not Vashon would be well-served by a marijuana factory in our midst.

— Matt Bergman

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