Neighbors worried over proposed pot dispensary location

ISSAQUAH, Wash. - Residents of Issaquah Court Condominiums in Old Town are saying "no way" to a proposed medical marijuana dispensary in their building.

The Peaceful Choice, a medical marijuana dispensary, submitted an application in July to open within the mixed-use building.

"My gut reaction is this is not going to be good for children, families, and my two kids," condo complex resident Amy Thompson says.

Thompson worries about what she calls the risk of a small minority of pot patients making trouble.

"If a medical marijuana facility comes in right next to our home, we're going to look for a home somewhere else," Thompson adds.

Resident and condo board president Robin Brewer has launched a petition drive, asking the City of Issaquah to deny the dispensary's application for a permit.

Brewer worries about the possibility of DEA raids, burglaries, and children being exposed to marijuana.

"It's not that all people who use medical marijuana, or the majority of people who use medical marijuana are at issue. It's the fringe element that comes with it," Brewer says.

Wagner Management Group, the owners of the retail space on the ground floor of the condo complex, say they have written strict rules of conduct into the dispensary's lease. These rules include no marijuana will be displayed, no use on premises, and strong security measures.

The management group says any violations to the rules of conduct and the dispensary's lease can be terminated.

A city ordinance prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a community center. Brewer contends a nearby library, senior center and railroad museum should be considered community centers. Since the dispensary would be within the buffer zone of those places, the dispensary should not be allowed.

City Hall staff are grappling with the official definition of "community center" and expect to reach a decision soon.

Brewer also points out several surrounding businesses cater to children, offering activities like theater, dance and art.

"It's not that we're against medical marijuana, it's just that the location is bad," Brewer adds.

The owner of The Peaceful Choice dispensary told KOMO News she cannot comment while the decision is pending.

The city will decide in early September whether to approve or deny the permit.