Questioning zoning to include marijuana processing and production facilities | Letter

Dear King County Council,

Dear King County Council,

Recently, we’ve become aware the council has proposed changes to the zoning of our community to include marijuana processing and producing. The topic was previously addressed two years ago during which our community was clearly opposed to such a plan. We expressed our sincere view that introducing such industry would be extremely detrimental. The council was responsive to us and our fellow citizens who live in the unincorporated area.

Despite the aforementioned, the matter is being brought forth again against the will of our community. The council appears to have little regard for the voices in our Redmond Westchester Heights community since we do not have a city government etc., we are at the whim of the council. “We” in this case consists of the 4,000-plus homes, schools, day cares, homeschools, home day cares, after-school programs and many neighborhood parks and trails where children frequently gather along with numerous businesses, etc.

The logic of attempting to proceed with large scale industrial marijuana facilities is completely irrational and reckless in the context of such a community. Continuing along such reasoning as to the vulnerability of our community, the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) just passed a bond measure to build a new middle school on its property bordering the areas where the industrial facilities would be located. Also, the Rosa Parks Elementary School is just down the street and The Goddard School is even closer to the business park.

Another point of consideration is the Urban Planned Development agreement between King County and our community that has clear intent to avoid exactly what is being proposed. We think the lack of an environmental study to understand the effects on the environment due to industrial waste in neighborhoods that are not equipped to handle them would be of paramount importance before even contemplating such an operation in any location, however certainly where there is extremely high population density. For example, our community contains the highest concentration of children in the entire LWSD. Also consider that no study has been done to understand the effects on our community’s health from the noxious fumes that a processing plant would produce since such facilities will use harmful pesticides/fungicides. Why would the council support such a plan is simply inconceivable when thinking through all of what is written in this letter?

What we find very concerning is the council’s apparent lack of consideration regarding our community’s clear objection to what is now being proposed. If the elected officials in the council were the elected officials of a city with the population and characteristics of the Redmond Ridge area, then such a proposal would likely never be considered. In such a scenario, the constituents voices would be responded to accordingly. We ask the council not abuse authority by foisting upon our community a plan that is clearly contradictory to our wishes. If we had another form of representation such as a city mayor etc., we would not be contemplating our current concerns. Please, be our voice in government and abide by the will of the people.

If the above views and perspectives we are earnestly and sincerely conveying do not resonate with the council, then consider the fact that cannabis resides on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. As such, if our council continues to pursue the placement of industrial facilities focused on cannabis literally in our neighborhoods, we will pursue legal action under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Our view is a federal court will enforce federal law. Our intent is to not suggest an opinion for or against the usage of marijuana, however the placement of a large scale cannabis operation in the middle of a high density populated community as described above would be a violation of US Federal Law. In brief, such a violation would be tantamount to an organized crime ring in our community along with other illegalities. We understand the nuances and considerations regarding states’ rights as compared to federal law, however we will pursue vigorously with all of the resources at our disposal the legality of moving forward with such plans as the council is proposing.

We sincerely hope such a path will not be necessary and our council will do what is best for the citizens in our community.

Christopher and Michelle Fernandez