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Eastside community upset about pot boundaries, processing business

REDMOND, Wash. — People in one Eastside neighborhood feel like they’re fighting an uphill battle against the legal pot industry and the King County Council.

redmondridgeThey’re worried a huge marijuana-processing facility could wind up in the middle of their Redmond Ridge neighborhood. Homeowners say they are concerned the business could mean a drop in property values and a rise in crime.

“If this could happen here, this could happen anywhere in unincorporated King County,” said Jen Boon, president of the Redmond Ridge Homeowners Association.

Dozens of concerned Redmond Ridge residents skipped the shopping on Black Friday to plan their fight against the county’s proposed pot-zoning ordinance.

“All I’m saying is find a remote area that doesn’t impact the neighborhoods and community,” said neighbor Ruti Gupta.

Thousands of families live in this section of unincorporated King County.

Not one person who attended the emergency community meeting showed support for the proposed pot business or zoning boundaries.

“(It’s) a small seed of salmonella during Thanksgiving dinner and dropping it in everybody’s plate,” said neighbor Ram Krishnan.

“It may be in unincorporated county, but it’s not less populated,” said Gupta. “It’s not a farmland.”

A company named Red Ridge Farms has applied for a license to process marijuana inside a Redmond Ridge building.

The location sits well beyond the required 1,000-foot buffer from schools and parks, but the neighboring homeowners don’t want any part of the state’s great pot experiment.

“How could you put big marijuana production and distribution and not anticipate increased crime?” asked Boon. “What is the council going to do with that increase of crime?”

The King County Council will hold a public hearing about the zoning boundaries at 2 p.m. Monday. Hundreds of people from across the King County are expected to attend.

24 comments

  • truenwguy

    The guy comparing a building processing (not selling to the public) cannabis to salmonella poisoning is a moron. As is the president of the HOA. Cannabis does not kill people or make them sick. Please explain how this will impact children? The only possible crime would be someone trying to break into the building, which I'm sure is very secure. This type of crime would not be a regular occurrence by any means. Redmond Ridge is full of pretentious techies who apparently believe the Reefer Madness propaganda.

    • Panzer

      "Redmond Ridge is full of pretentious techies"

      Just another case of misguided bitterness and jealousy. Don't expect anyone to take you seriously when you begin your arguments that way.

      You can't argue that it won't attract crime, even if rare. It's a highly lucrative product, with extremely high value as contraband, being illegal in 49 states and at the federal level and having a 75% tax burden on legal sales. A family oriented neighborhood is hardly the best place for this at this moment. Maybe in a few years.

    • Guest

      Sorry, that was really a poor comment. These are very smart people, That work for Google, Amazon and Microsoft. It is very difficult to find people with this IQ any where in the country. They try really hard to make this a great country, state and community. Most of them come with nothing and able to live the American dream.

      I hope you respect them and not make such remarks.

    • Guest

      @slam1263 – H1-B's are a result of capitalism. So everyone who protest H1b including you are against capitalism? I don't see anything wrong in protecting ones investment either in home, community or kids against perceived or real threats.

  • ripitupsports

    I’m not familiar with Redmond Ridge, but I am familiar with Sammamish and Issaquah and there is a definite “I’m in favor of the new law, as long as I don’t see it here” mentality.

    This story is an absolute Trainwreck, where do I begin? How about using children as spokespeople about a subject that is clearly for adults. Trotting out a 10 year old to speak about marijuana was irresponsible and disingenuous and the reporter and parent who wrote her scripts should be ashamed of themselves. Absolutely unacceptable. Were children used as props to speak about wineries and microbreweries?

    The comment about salmonella was asinine. First of all, as I understand it, producers and processors cannot sell ANY marijuana to the public, that can only happen at a licensed store. So apparently there would not be any “salmonella poisoning” of your neighborhood unless someone who lives there buys marijuana at a retail store and brings it home, which I guarantee there is at least a handful of people in that neighborhood that enjoy their pot. It’s legal now people! Which part of that do you not understand? Of course there is pot in your neighborhood! Just like there is alcohol in your neighborhood. Is Redmond Ridge community run by Latter Day Saints?

    “If it can happen here, can happen anywhere” that statement has no context or understanding of what they are talking about. Yes! It can happen anywhere where it’s properly applied, that was the point of legislature. King County has the right to zone for places they feel operate in a safe and clean environment that has minimal impact on the community, if they feel this place serves that purpose then the uninformed witch hunt that ensues should not factor into its decision.

    This is a law voted by the people, the county has to work with the LCB in honoring this implementation. For communities to round up opposition against all things marijuana is an attempt to block this measure from being realized, that is illegal. The democratic process is being impeded and that sets a very ominous tone for sabotaging that process, which has been in effect since this country was founded. I guess I should not expect those not from this country to understand how this works or should I expect them to respect our nations laws and democratic process.

    Pot is legal Redmond Ridge, Issaquah Highlands, Sammamish plateau and all the other pretentious Eastside communities, there is and always has been marijuana in your communities, at least now your neighbors will not be potential criminals by preferring its use over alcohol. Now it can be regulated and taken off the streets, which is where your kids are getting it. Get off your pius high horses and stop ambarassing yourselves with outlandish and uninformed propaganda, it’s 2013 not 1945. And please stop bringing children to a discussion that belongs to adults. Shameful.

    • TexasOkieInSeattle

      Hell, I think "If it can happen here, can happen anywhere" should be our new pro-pot legalization slogan!
      'Come on Texas, Arkansas, Oregon & the rest of you: If it can happen here, can happen anywhere"

    • Santa

      You sound bitter. "Pretentious" Eastside communities? You're like the ugly chick in school calling the cheerleaders "sluts." Poor debating form, and it just makes you sound sore about your life vs. theirs.

      Pot being legal doesn't mean that a processing plant next to a little league field/day care center/public park is a good idea. I'm for pot, I'm not for growing it next door to my kid's kindergarden when there are so much better alternatives.

  • ripitupsports

    I think Eastside communities should focus their attention on the alarming use of prescription drugs and heroin. It’s becoming pervasive and has severe consequences like suicides. By the way how are these painkillers and opiates entering our communities? From you the parents.

    • Elf

      I don't know a single person like that in the Eastside. Not that there aren't any, but you're obviously making a storm in a glass of water out of ignorance and twisted stereotypes.

  • TexasOkieInSeattle

    theskyisfalling… theskyisfalling…. the sky is falling… THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!! Next time come with facts gentlemen. They go much further than clever analogies & fear-mongering. This isn't a "Faux News, Red state" so you're going to have to up your game. Maybe you should have "voted harder" last November or spoke up when they were having meetings about borders??? If we didn't have the idiotic, also-based-on-Drug-War-BS "schools & parks" rules the growers wouldn't be banished to the boondocks.

    • MrsClaus

      If they're processing a drug that's illegal in 49 states and at the federal level, there's nothing wrong with banishing them to the boondocks, even if we do support legalization. This has nothing to do with having voted harder last November because that's not the issue.

  • guest

    What is the threat?? I don't get it – a processing facility, behind locked doors, to uphold a law that keeps the under 21 crowd AWAY from street drugs is damned responsible – let the business people (and by that I mean the cannabis entrepreneurs) do their job, and let the state collect it's 75% sales tax – the new law is explicit in the way processing will be safely handled. Relax, you will never even know it is there!

    • Vixen

      You're such an idealist. Yea, I'm sure pot taxed at 75% will keep contraband pot off the streets and off the under-21 crows. I'll have what you're having…

      Your ridiculous idealism is no different than their paranoia. However they have status quo on their side and the fact that there's a reason laws like "over 1,000 feet" exist, same reason why having this next to a daycare and little league park is not the best idea.

  • Afraid of the HOA

    I live in Redmond Ridge and cannot express how angry I am that these people came out representing me. They are essentially sore losers–the election didn't go the way they wanted it to go so now they are fighting zoning. It is anti-democracy.

    A couple particularly awesome quotes:

    * “If this could happen here, this could happen anywhere in unincorporated King County,”
    Correct, this could, and should, happen anywhere in unincorporated King County. That's, you know, the law, and a good thing.

    * “How could you put big marijuana production and distribution and not anticipate increased crime?”
    That's a pretty good debate technique: state that something will happen, offering absolutely no evidence, but do so in a way that puts the burden of proof on the other side of the argument.

    * "All I’m saying is find a remote area that doesn’t impact the neighborhoods and community"
    Yup, you are saying that, but providing no rationale behind that statement. Provide a *reason* this would impact the neighborhood negatively.

    It's a shameful day in the neighborhood.

    • GoRedRidge Farms

      Good for you for exercising your right to free speech, its a rare event these days. You are also correct that this is a state law and cannot be repealed no matter how many people and facebook pages are assembled.

      I love how the one comment grouped the production AND distribution of marijuana in this zoning. Once they get dig deeper into the law (and I'm sure they are working on that as I type) they will know that it is not possible to have both of those in same space or on same license. If these people applied for a producer/processor license, then there is no way they can have a retail license. that means no marijuana will be entering the community from this facility, that is a fact.

      These are all straw men arguments in which their intention is to create the media attention that they have gotten and rally support through the frenzy of the attention. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame and look like the hero, but the funny thing is, there is nothing to be a hero about. If the building checks out and meets state compliance then that's it.

      • Santa

        No, that's not it. That's why the ruling was postponed and council members have hinted that perhaps this is not the best place for this plant. The law may say that it needs to be 1000 feet away from public parks and schools, so does that mean it makes perfect sense to open one of these facilities 1001 feet from a school, a day care center, and a public park? No. That's where democracy and representation come in. Things aren't black and white, and that's why people can engage in conversation with their government and try to work out the best courses of action.

    • Santa

      This has nothing to do with the election and everything to do with such a facility not belonging in a residential neighborhood next to a public park, a little league field, a day care center, and close to a school, regardless of how dumb their arguments are. It'd probably be the same if this was a tobacco processing plant. There's a time and a place, and this hardly seems like ideal.

    • Jail

      The crime argument is just common sense. This is a community that's been struggling with burglaries and crime already. When you add a building housing a highly desirable, high value drug that's illegal in 49 states and at the federal level and has extremely high worth as contraband, it's bound to attract some more. Why add that risk smack-dab in the middle of a residential community full of kids and seniors.

  • AM

    ” While the location does fall outside state’s 1000 foot buffer zone from schools and parks. Neighbors are almost certain the Red Ridge Trail used by families and children is within 1000 feet of the facility.”

    This statement false. It has been shown that the location is within 1000ft of a park and a daycare facility. Additionally, it was also shown to King County Council that the processing facility is less than 1000ft away from residential houses

    • guest

      Really? It has been shown, where? I happen to know the people and they had a licensed land surveyor come out and do a measurement 5-6 months ago, it exceeds 1000 ft from that ball field and is 2000 feet from any licensed child care facility. As far as residences go, there is no buffer rule on that, so you don't need to keep mentioning that, and if there were, the closest would be 800-900 feet away across a greenbelt with no sight of lines at all. Trails are also not part of the buffer rules.

      These people are very conscious of the area they are in and have done a tremendous amount of homework and have planned for all of these.

      There are going to be families and children within minimum of 1000 feet of production, processing and retail locations all over the state, that is the safe distance rule set forth by the federal government and adhered to by the sate. That's all that's required as far as safe buffer rules.

      • Santa

        I think that you have to take the spirit of the law along with the letter of the law. Does it make sense to have a marijuana processing plant 1001 feet form a day care, 1001 feet from a little league baseball field, 1001 feet from an elementary school, and 1001 feet from a public park, just because that's what the letter of the law says? There is no right answer, but I think it's pretty easy to understand the argument from those that believe that this is nowhere close to the best place to put this facility, when there are millions of acres around the county that would make a lot more sense and be less of a risk, considering the unknowns and the experimental nature of the situation.

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