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Rep. Herrera Beutler: Cities shouldn’t count on marijuana revenue

The future of marijuana is filled with uncertainty. Since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back Obama-era policies, municipalities with legalized marijuana are on edge. Sessions could bring back a more heavy-handed approach to drug law enforcement, but proponents say the industry is generating revenue for law enforcement and public services. U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, said they shouldn’t count on it.

At the time of Sessions’ January decision, Herrera Beutler didn’t take a stance.

“There is a conflict between state and federal law regarding marijuana use, and Congress should provide certainty so that federal law enforcement policy can’t change depending on who runs the Department of Justice,” she said in January.

But while touring Daybreak Youth Services in Brush Prairie Wednesday to learn a little more about the facility and treatment for addiction and mental health disorders, the subject of marijuana came up.

She first learned that all of the male teens in the facility used marijuana, to which she shook her head and said, “I believe that.”

Later in the tour federal action was mentioned. Herrera Beutler relayed a recent conversation she had with a Southwest Washington city on the issue.

“They said, ‘What’s going to happen with marijuana laws?’ And I said, I’m not sure, but please don’t build this into your budget. It’s legal, but don’t build it into something that if we lose it were in trouble.”

The unnamed city is using marijuana revenue to fund its police and fire departments.

“That one caused me concern,” she said.

Katy Sword

I cover the city of Vancouver and federal politics. Reach me at katy.sword@columbian.com.

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