SEATTLE — Legalized pot in Washington state is expected to be a multimillion dollar industry when the State Liquor Control Board licensed shops, farms, grow ops and processing facilities open their doors early next year. But should the location of these businesses be public? It’s a question that divides proprietors, city officials and the public.
“There’s no value in anybody knowing where the gold is stashed, if you will,” Jake Dimmock said.
Dimmock owns the Northwest Patient Resource Center in West Seattle, part of the Cannabis Coalition for Standards and Ethics. He says he runs a transparent business and he believes the industry should be transparent as well but he has concerns about security and crime.
“You wouldn’t want to have everyone know where the gold is. It’s been stealth up until now. I think anytime someone knows where the gold is, you would be setting yourself up for robbery or things like that,” Dimmock said.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes sees things a bit differently. He also sits on the State Sunshine Committee charged with reviewing exemptions to the state’s public records act, and there have been exemptions before.
The question is, Should the pot industry be exempt from the act? Holmes says no.
“The Liquor Control Board has been very careful about making sure that all of these facilities have adequate security and that really shouldn’t be an issue. I believe in transparency and people have a right to know where these facilities are,” Holmes said.
One big problem is that it will, initially at least, be a cash-only business, the same as current medical marijuana shops and dispensaries.
Opponents of open records said that will continue to make these businesses the targets of criminals, at least until federal law changes and allows these businesses to use credit cards and the banking system.
For now it’s wait and see, but most of the people we spoke with say that people’s right to know should take precedent.
“I think that is should absolutely be public knowledge. The location, who has access to these shops. I mean it seems like it’s probably everybody, just because now it’s a law that’s open in Washington,” open records supporter Ryan Clark said.