Council hears input from Black Excellence in Cannabis, passes traffic-safety camera fine amendment

During a relatively brief but productive meeting May 28, the Lynnwood City Council approved several agenda items and heard from public commenters about recently discussed cannabis sales regulations. Councilmember Patrick Decker was absent from the Tuesday meeting.

Peter Manning from Black Excellence in Cannabis

Public commenter Peter Manning from Black Excellence in Cannabis spoke about his group’s work in formulating a plan to increase equity in the cannabis industry by creating pathways to ownership for black and brown people. He said that if Lynnwood removed its moratorium/ban on the retail sale of cannabis, the city council should allow social equity candidates to open a business.

Black Excellence in Cannabis Vice President Mike Asai

Also from Black Excellence in Cannabis, Vice President Mike Asai said that the city’s 10-year ban on cannabis had been in place long enough and that the medicinal and pain-relieving benefits of cannabis had become clear in that time. He recalled the fear that he felt while telling his 96-year old grandmother that he owned a dispensary but added that now, she sought the use of CBD products as she dealt with various ailments. 

“We understand that there was this notion about cannabis going to kids in the community but kids are going to get it regardless; it starts at the home front,” Asai said. “I can tell you this as a former medical dispensary owner, the last thing we ever wanted to do was let kids come here. We implemented the 21-and-over-year age [requirement] prior to it being implemented statewide.” Asai added that cannabis would also bring valuable tax dollars to Lynnwood and that safety concerns – like break-ins – were occurring due to inadequate implementation and security by store owners.

Longtime resident Jim Sissell

Longtime resident Jim Sissell spoke about automated traffic-safety camera violations. Sissell stated that he was in support of the cameras when they were introduced years ago and remains supportive. He said that the cameras were introduced to residents as a way of catching left-turn violations but learned they were also being used to capture drivers taking right turns without stopping. Referring to one right-hand turn at 44th Avenue Southbound/196th Street Eastbound, Sissell said that he’d been incorrectly issued tickets, and that a right-hand turn signal should be used to regulate traffic in this area. 

The council also made its first proclamation acknowledging Pride Month. Lynnwood Pride founders and several councilmembers reminded audience members of Lynnwood’s first Pride celebration at the Lynnwood Event Center June 8. 

A photo taken in commemoration of Pride Month

Items unanimously approved at the May 28 meeting include:

– An ordinance to amend the fines for automated traffic-safety camera violations. In accordance with House Bill 2386, recipients of public assistance or participants in the Women, Infants, and Children program must be informed that they can reduce their first ticket’s fine by 50%. 

– The appointment of Frank Percival, president of the Lynnwood Chamber of Commerce, to position 5 on the Lynnwood Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. The council also approved the appointment of Keton Handy for an alternate position on the Lynnwood Board of Ethics.

– A reimbursement agreement between the City of Lynnwood and Sound Transit. While planning begins for the Everett Link Extension, Sound Transit will reimburse Lynnwood for up to $370,000 should the city incur costs related to developing and reviewing documents related to the state-mandated Environmental Impact Statement.

– Amendments to the procedure for filling city council vacancies. The procedure was established in 2010, so some edits were made to reflect structural changes in the city’s government – such as instructing the city clerk to begin the recruitment as opposed to the nonexistent director of administrative services position. Changes also stipulate that a ranked-choice vote will be held among councilmembers to narrow the list of applicants if more than eight people apply. A full list of changes can be viewed on the marked-up document here. 

Council President George Hurst

In addition, Council President George Hurst removed item 11C from the unanimous consent agenda so he could comment on it. 11C referred to an interlocal agreement between Snohomish County and cities within it that recommends a funding process that will create access to affordable housing and behavioral health facilities. Hurst did not oppose the agreement but added that Lynnwood should monitor the county collaboration closely to “get its money’s worth” as Lynnwood is a major contributor per capita to sales tax revenue [5% of population but over 20% of sales tax revenue]. 

— By Jasmine Contreras-Lewis

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