Hoquiam council upholds marijuana ban

Marijuana businesses continue to be illegal within Hoquiam city limits, with the city council once again voting down a measure allowing the trade in some areas of the city.

City officials have been working to create permanent pot regulations for about five months but have fallen short of passing a measure at each city council meeting. The May 12 Hoquiam City Council meeting was no different. After little discussion, six members of the council — Darrin Moir, Paul McMillan, John Pellegrini, Bill Nelson, Greg Grun and Kay Diehm — voted down the ordinance.

Morals vs. voters

Councilman Ben Winkelman, who had supported legalization of the businesses, accused the naysayers of voting based on their morals instead of the will of their constituents. He argued that council members aren’t being asked whether marijuana use is safe or advisable, they’re simply being asked to regulate businesses.

But McMillan, an advocate of an outright ban, said it’s the council’s job to look out for society and said that passing the statewide initiative legalizing recreational marijuana use may not have been in voters’ best interest.

“The people in my ward may have said one thing, but if you look in hindsight it may not have been a good idea,” McMillan said.

His statement was met with murmurs of dissent from the audience.

Hoquiam resident Gary Patterson expressed his disappointment with McMillan’s argument after the vote during a public comment period, arguing that voters shouldn’t be ignored.

“We’re not dumb, and that’s why we get to vote,” Patterson said.

The council had also scheduled votes on measures repealing marijuana business and collective garden moratoria, which have been in place for more than a year. The items were tabled after the ordinance failed.


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