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City of Federal Way

Advisory Proposition No. 1

Allowing Marijuana-Related Businesses in the City of Federal Way


Should the Federal Way City Council enact an ordinance allowing marijuana-related businesses within the City of Federal Way?



The City of Federal Way currently has in place a moratorium on any marijuana-related businesses, which will expire in May 2016.

This ballot proposition is a non-binding advisory vote that allows residents to inform the Federal Way City Council whether they are for or against marijuana-related businesses locating within the City of Federal Way. A “Yes” vote means the voter is in favor of marijuana-related businesses locating within the City of Federal Way. A “No” vote means the voter is against marijuana-related businesses locating within the City of Federal Way.

For questions about this measure, contact: Amy Jo Pearsall, City Attorney,

In 2012, King County voters passed I-502 with 63.5% approval, legalizing recreational marijuana. Going against the voters, the Federal Way city council has repeatedly banned marijuana businesses within city limits. The council has asked for an advisory vote. That is what we are doing now; the city council would like a second vote, for the citizens of Federal Way to tell them once and for all that we approve recreational marijuana.

As of August 4, 2015 the total excise tax collected on recreational marijuana in Washington was approximately $76 million. King County makes up almost $18 million of that total. The law provides that tax revenue be distributed to local jurisdictions that allow marijuana business. If Federal Way continues to ban marijuana businesses the city will get none. 

By banning marijuana business, Federal Way is only pushing the sales to nearby cities, or to the black market.  Local bans do nothing but undermine the end-goal of I-502, which is to regulate and treat marijuana responsibly where prohibition tactics have clearly failed.

By voting “yes” you’ll be telling the city council that Federal Way should allow marijuana businesses and should benefit from its fair share of the tax dollars. 

Statements submitted by: Elise Crick, Francois Ryf, and Cristiano Suzuki,

Federal Way has worked hard to foster an environment that is family friendly, attracts quality businesses and enhances the quality of life.

The licensing of marijuana establishments is not consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the residents of Federal Way.  Even though the sale is illegal to minors, pot shops send the message that drugs are the new norm. Teens will be bombarded with promotional messages from an industry seeking lifelong customers.

Corner pot shops will make pot even more readily available to teens. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that use of marijuana interferes with memory, concentration, learning and brain development, lowering the odds of completing high school.

Retail shops will harm neighboring businesses and increase law enforcement costs by creating an environment conducive to both petty crime and serious criminal elements.

Sixty-four other Washington cities already recognize that the social costs greatly outweigh any potential tax revenue.

A “no” vote does not restrict adults from the private use of marijuana.

Federal Way is a great place to raise a family, establish a business and enjoy a great quality life. It is not the place for pot shops. Say "No" to retail Marijuana!

For more information:

Statements submitted by: Jack Walsh,
James Stiles, and Terrance R. Thomas II

The Liquor and Cannabis Board has set extremely strict rules relating to the sale of marijuana. Rules related to security, store locations, advertising, packaging, etc. are designed to keep communities safe and marijuana out of the hands of minors. There is no evidence that retail marijuana stores increase law enforcement costs.

With the tax revenue generated by marijuana businesses, Federal Way will be able to grow and prosper with fewer burdens on the city’s taxpayers.

The pro statement misrepresents the facts.  Although 63.5% of King county voters favored I-502, a very slim majority of Federal Way voters supported it. And supporting legalization does not mean residents want pot shops located here. Only a small percentage of the tax revenue would return to the City--not enough to offset increased law enforcement costs. The wellbeing of our youth and our quality of life should not be for sale at any price.

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