Yakima councilwoman reverses stance on recreational pot

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Just weeks ago, Councilwoman Maureen Adkison voted against a proposed ban on the sale of recreational marijuana in Yakima. She tells me, she regretted the decision nearly immediately.

"When I walked out of chambers, I knew I had probably made a mistake."

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, the councilwoman announced her change of heart. Those who favor a ban on recreational pot are the new majority for Yakima City Council.

Adkison says a number of reasons factored into her decision. She worries about black market sales. I asked her though, would a black market be more likely with a ban in place?

"I think that's six of one half dozen of the other," responded Adkison. "To be honest, I think that it'll become sexier for young people to get it than it is now. Because it will be more accessible."

She's frets about young children getting their hands on pot. That's why proponents argue regulation will prevent that.

"Well, I can pretty much guarantee you, there's a lot of 18 and 19 year olds out there that don't have any trouble getting the beer and wine that they want," said Adkison.

She is also concerned about being out of step with the federal government, which deems pot illegal.

To get the other side, I spoke with Councilwoman Kathy Coffey. She voted with Adkison in October to defeat a ban. Selling pot would include a heavy tax to fight crime. Coffey says she mourned that loss of potential money for public safety.

"And, if there are problems...if there are any of the things that, you know, some of our...our Chief and others have said should be the actions, we're going to have to take care of those, but we won't have the funds or be a recipient from the taxes that could help us offset the cost of taking care of the criminal activity, if that would be the case," said Coffey.

Yakima neighbor Susan Sargent believes legal pot sales will lower crime.

"It might decrease it, because it will be accessible. People won't have to go through underground methods to get it. They'll be able to do it legally and that's a positive thing as far as I see it."

With Adkison's about-face, Susan and like-minded neighbors could be disappointed.