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 District expresses concern about possible pot shop location (Letter to the Editor...Tri-City Herald)

In this Letter to the Editor published by the Tri-City Herald on July 2, Richland School District Superintendent Rick Schulte expresses the District's concern over the possible siting of a marijuana retail store near school bus stops.....

I would like to express the concern of the Richland School District about the proposed location of a marijuana retail shop at Arena and Kennedy roads in Benton County.

This location is within a short distance of three school bus stops that pick up high school students daily. This is a cause of great concern due to the expected increase in traffic, noise and congestion. Likewise, we are aware other retail marijuana shops have attracted some customers who engage in vandalism and intimidation. We have heard from parents and students who are fearful of having unsupervised children standing at bus stops, endangered by the speeding traffic, and intimidated by the adult customers.

We vigorously oppose locating marijuana shops where students will see drug use as normal and where they will be exposed to encouragement or enticement to become drug users. This is fundamentally contrary to the school district’s health teaching about avoiding drug use. It will detract from our ability to keep our schools, grounds, events and facilities drug-free. The same reasons for prohibiting retail marijuana stores near schools should also apply to school bus stops which, in effect, serve as extensions of the schools.