What legalizing weed would mean for Yakima

What legalizing weed would mean for Yakima
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Legalizing marijuana here in Washington is on your hands. You could make history if you give it the ok. KIMA wanted to know what legalizing pot would mean for Yakima. Action News spoke with police and city leaders to get answers.

The issue of marijuana is a battle between the states and federal government. According to the federal government it's illegal, but we could pass a law that would change that in the state of Washington. If it passed what would that mean for Yakima?

If 502 passes, anyone over 21 would be able to carry one ounce of weed legally in Washington. It still would be illegal on the federal level. The sale of marijuana would be taxed with 40% of revenue going to state general fund, and 60% on drug prevention, research and education.

"Are you ready to see a marijuana shop next to sub shop," asked KIMA.

"Um, no, not really" "It's bad enough we have alcohol like Las Vegas Monday through Sunday. I mean, you can get drunk anytime you want now," said Raquel Howard a Yakima taxpayer.

Marijuana dispensaries would move into Yakima, but they aren't likely to replace drug dealers altogether.

"If you go back to prohibition with alcohol and who was running that who was moving the alcohol the mob,” said Captain Rod Light with Yakima police. “What happen once that was overturned and it wasn't illegal? They had to find something else. It's the same scenario here with guys that are out selling marijuana."

Yakima police think putting pot dealers out of business will drive them to commit other crimes.

The biggest concern many have is the idea of more drivers on the road under the influence.
This time from pot, not booze. Police believe there will be a legal limit like alcohol.

The Feds would continue to target the large grows, but dispensaries could also be shut down.

"The city is kind of in the middle of this argument saying we don't want to kind of get in between the state and the feds they need to get it figured out,” said Yakima Mayor Micah Cawley.

Yakima could pass its own laws to regulate marijuana use in the city like it did for medical marijuana.