North Bonneville, WA -- If ever there was a litmus test for the inconsistencies within the state, it can be seen now in Washington state.
This Saturday, in a small Washington town, the government will become drug dealers when the city of North Bonneville opens the doors to the first ever government owned pot shop.
The store, which is called the Cannabis Corner, was funded entirely by private investment. However, the profits from the pot will be used for public projects.
There are only 968 people who claim residency in this little town and only nine percent of them admit to smoking reefer. However, according to KIRO News, officials estimate the shop will bring in $3.5 million in the first year.
They hope to use some of that money to upgrade a park.
"We are of the mentality that we expect the worst and hope for the best," said Tim Dudley, one of the board members of the North Bonneville Public Development Authority (PDA), which is in charge of the shop.
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The PDA was created specifically to run the Cannabis Corner. It was given its license from the Washington State Liquor Control Board at the end of February.
According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, legally the PDA is considered a separate entity from the city. It will act as a grant-issuing authority, focusing on public health and safety projects. Updating equipment at the park is the first order of business, Dudley said.
Local governments finding voluntary and unique ways to raise money for their communities is a great thing. However, governments locking people in cages for doing the exact same thing is not so great.
There is a rift between government officials across the nation. Some people will have you believe that the end of the world is looming now that the majority of Americans want to legalize marijuana.
Others, however, like those in Washington state, see the economic benefits received when governments stop locking people up for having a plant.
But we must be wary about state-run, for-profit businesses and their ability to use state power to grant themselves a monopoly. The Cannabis Corner currently has no competition in Skamania County.
The state-run Liquor Control Board will only issue two licenses in the entire county, and already, a state agency holds one of them.
What happens if this idea takes off and private entry to the marijuana market is continuously stifled by state agencies trying to make a quick buck? Imagine what would happen to the quality of marijuana if it were manufactured by a monopoly of bureaucrats. Remember government cheese?