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The need for jobs does not trump environmental concerns
I appreciated the chance to hear from other islanders and express my own concerns about the proposed marijuana factory at the K2 site during Wednesday’s public hearing. Islanders were eloquent and passionate — something I appreciate deeply about my community. In my own, less well-prepared testimony I fear I sounded dismissive of the need for jobs on the island. While I do recognize that Vashon has an intense need for more employment opportunities, I ask those who argue that the county should allow industrial marijuana production — in violation of our town plan — for that specific reason to consider this: How many communities now have fracking or Walmart in their midst because of the clamor for more jobs?
If someone proposed fracking on the island, would you jump so quickly? Would you say disparagingly, “You use natural gas — where do you think it’s going to come from?” (This, a variation of one person’s testimony regarding people who voted for the legalization of marijuana but question its industrial growing at the K2 site.) Would you toss aside concerns over water and energy use and pollution? Would you want your community to be ramrodded into accepting fracking? Would you not ask for time to come to a community consensus?
The proposed plant could cause a deep fracture in our community if fast-tracked as proposed. I ask the county council to give the island time to update our town plan rather than taking advantage of our lack of local governance and forcing an amendment upon us. Let us have a say in determining our destiny. And I ask islanders who support marijuana production to have patience and allow a reasonable process for this momentous decision. We waited a long time for marijuana legalization; we can wait a little longer to do it right.
— Lesley Reed