Developer considers buying part of North Bend Mountain Valley Shopping Center, opening marijuana store

On June 13th at 7PM at North Bend City Hall, 211 Main Ave N, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to gather public input on a proposed developer agreement that would allow a marijuana store to be located in the Mountain Valley Shopping Center near I-90 exit 31 in North Bend.

The proposed marijuana retail store would be owned by Clifford Gehrett who has an existing marijuana retail sales license for a store he owns in Issaquah, which according to the draft Developer Agreement has been operated consistently with all local and state laws.

Gehrett is also trying to purchase the portion of the Mountain Valley Shopping Center where the business would be located – which is the newer portion closer to the North Bend Outlet Mall at 320 SW Mount Si Blvd. This is not the part of the shopping center where the old Blockbuster store has sat vacant for years at SW 456 Mount Si Blvd.

According to North Bend Senior Planner Mike McCarty, “Subject to City Council approval of a Development Agreement to allow marijuana retail at this location, he [Gehrett] would create a demising wall in the existing large vacant commercial space within that property, and locate the marijuana retail in one of the new spaces.  He would lease out the remaining spaces at 320 SW Mount Si Boulevard to other unrelated existing and future tenants.”

The marijuana store would be located in the spot that at one time held a Washington State Liquor Store.

Gehrett had originally considered locating a new marijuana store along North Bend Way near the site of the new city hall, but is now proposing the Mountain Valley Shopping Center location.

Those wishing to comment on the proposed developer agreement to allow the marijuana store can submit written comments until 4:30pm June 13th, or in person at the public hearing on June 13th.

Written comments should be sent to City of North Bend Community and Economic Development, PO Box 896, North Bend WA, 98045, Attn: Mike McCarty, Senior Planner, mmccarty@northbendwa.gov Emailed comments should include the subject line “Marijuana Retail DA Hearing.”

Portion of Mountain Valley Shopping Center proposed to be purchased by Gehrett at 320 Mt. Si Blvd
Proposed marijuana store location, 320 SW Mount Si Blvd in North Bend Mountain Valley Shopping Center

Comments

  1. Patricia McKiernan says

    I certainly hope a multitude of people respond and send letters to the city, I certainly intend to.

  2. Thank you for posting this story Danna. I was unaware of the proposed store and immediately emailed Mike McCarty voicing my support on the proposed developer agreement to allow the marijuana store. I hope others follow suit, before Starbucks(or another doomed cupcake stand) decides to open another store in it’s place.

  3. Toby Rogers says

    I am a tad bit confused. From the story: “This is not the part of the shopping center where the old Blockbuster store has sat vacant for years at SW 456 Mount Si Blvd”. Also from the story: “The marijuana store would be located in the spot that at one time held a Washington State Liquor Store”. Aren’t these two previous stores (Blockbuster & the liquor store) in the same shopping center? Thanks.

    • Danna McCall says

      Yes. They are in the same strip mall/ shopping center, but different parts of it have different owners. The former liquor store and former Blockbuster are only a couple of door apart.

  4. LUIS E DIAZ says

    The store will be open you like it or not

  5. Robert Reed says

    Here you go, this is the guy that we want to allow in our city running a business correct? I really hope people voice their opinion and keep this out of our city
    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/marijuana/man-convicted-of-murder-gets-pot-store-license-in-issaquah/

  6. H. Duceman says

    Marijuana and Crime – The report from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice Office of Research and Statistics found that the total number of marijuana industry-related crimes remained stable and made up a very small portion of overall crime. The most common industry-related crime was burglary, accounting for 59 percent of all industry-related crime in 2017.

    At the same time, however, all forms of violent crime in Colorado have steadily increased over the past five years, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations’ latest annual report on statewide crime statistics.

    Violent crimes, including murders and aggravated assaults, have increased by 25 percent from 2013 to 2017. Property crime rates also rose statewide during that time.

    Whether Colorado’s rising crime rates are connected to marijuana legalization is hotly debated.

    Gov. Hickenlooper has said he isn’t yet ready to pin the blame of rising crime on the legalization of marijuana. In Fort Collins, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith told CNN recently that cannabis isn’t making it more likely that a person will commit a crime. Rather, he believes that legal marijuana attracts a “growing seasonal transient population” that is more likely to commit crime.

  7. H. Duceman says

    Google “marijuana legalization and traffic”….it wasn’t a smart idea to legalize it, but now it is done. So now we get a voice about if we want it in our town… Google “Marijuana Dispensaries and Crime” If you trust your news from rollingstone.com, reefer.com, thestanger.com, there is no additional risk to having a dispensary. If you trust forbes.com, thecrimereport.org, sciencedaily.com , we can expect crime to rise.
    In a live video interview with The Washington Post, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams went on the record in discussing marijuana, his thoughts about the drug, and his concerns about the risks that the drug poses. In one excerpt from that interview, the Surgeon General said that “We know that marijuana primes the brain for further addiction. It can cause developmental delay, particularly in the young and developing brain. And we still don’t know the effects it can have on the rest of the body particularly if you’re smoking it. If cigarettes cause cancer, there’s every reason to believe that long term usage of marijuana can cause cancer.”
    Will we make the wise choice?

  8. So if you are worried about crime being caused by drugs why aren’t we banning alcohol. Oh wait, that didn’t work either. Time to end the criminalization which disproportionately harms young people and people of color, sponsors massive levels of violence and corruption, and fails to curb youth access. Instead continue the state sponsored regulation and promote safe consumption.

  9. >> So if you are worried about crime being caused by drugs why aren’t we banning alcohol.

    It’s tough to drink daily and function at all. It’s not hard to smoke daily and function in a diminished capacity that is severely detrimental to your long-term potential. Rats given THC show cognitive problems, and studies show those that smoke regularly through their teen years suffer measurable impacts to IQ. In some cases nearly a standard deviation, which is massive.

    >> Time to end the criminalization which disproportionately harms young people and people of color

    If you wanted to “help” people of color, then all you needed to do was decriminalize possession. That would have ensured a young life wasn’t ruined for getting caught with pot. But no, big business had to ensure pot was LEGAL, so they could move it by the kiloton throughout the state. In other words, Pot Inc didn’t do what was needed to help the poor kid. They did was was needed to ensure they could make big profits at the expense of the poor kid.

    > sponsors massive levels of violence

    Sadly, the 4 states (CA, CO, AK, OR) that have legalized pot in 2014 and 2015 have shown sharp increases in murders and assaults between 2013 and 2017. These states showed 35 and 25% increases respectively, while the nation increases of 20 and 10%, respectively. You can bet these numbers all trickle down to the local level, too. Seattle had 31 homicides in 2018, the highest in 10 years. If you told anyone that Seattle was safer today than 10 years ago, they’d laugh in your face. Seattle is a wreck and drugs are 99% of the problem.

    > fails to curb youth access

    Yes, we were told that by legalizing, the black market would dry up and make it harder for kids to smoke. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The black market is alive and well, simple because people want to avoid taxes on pot. And teen use, according to Vox, has risen wherever it has been legalized. Worse, black teens are being arrested for pot possession in higher rates (because possession by all teens is illegal, but it’s more readily avaialable).

    Colorado does something interesting when someone dies in a car accident. They look for THC in the blood. We all know that THC in hair and urine doesn’t correlate with impairment. But blood measurements do. Colorado sees about 4000 DUI cases a year, 73% of those tested positive for pot, and about half of those were legally above the state’s limit for THC and were driving while high. That’s a lot of folks driving while high.

    Yearly, about 40 people die due to driving while high in Colorado. Extrapolated nationwide, that’s about 2000 people a year. Making the humble joint far more lethal than an AR15 in terms of people killed per year.

    Nothing the Big Pot Inc told us has come true. Teen use has increased, violent crimes have increased, the black markets continue to exist and move drugs, and minority teens are suffering more than ever in terms of increased daily use and increased incarceration rate.

    The one thing that has changed is Big Business can now move the drug legally, and rich people can smoke on the weekends without fear of getting put in jail. Everyone else has suffered from the legalization.

    Enough. I don’t want this in North Bend.

  10. Lets not get carried away with the crime drama. Remember crime rate is a much better gauge than actual counts as the population has increased dramatically in this area. I like your passion on the issue but we should add some context and research material. A quick read puts this into perspective. Remember when gangs were going to destroy the city, or unemployment and now it is the homeless’s turn to destroy the city. There will always be a group blamed for societies ills when in reality things are improving incrementally over the decades. I’d blame opioids or alcohol or even economic issues for the current increase over the last couple years in violent crime before weed.
    https://komonews.com/news/local/city-data-seattle-crime-numbers-rise-steadily-with-population

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/is-seattle-dying-not-if-you-look-crime-rates-from-the-80s-and-90s/

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/what-caused-the-crime-decline/477408/

    Also, usage is not spiking with teens in WA according to long term studies. The slight increase could be explained by other factors as well. In CO the use is flat between illegal and legal times. Reference the Long term study from Federal lab.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5365078/

    Legalization is far better than criminalization by any standard but of course that will be debated forever. In the meantime the store will open and life in the valley will continue to be paradise while old timers glorify the past, which is a well studied topic as well. The next thing people start saying is they are moving to Idaho(or any cheaper local) which is another great idea as transplants need a house and Idaho is cheaper for retirees or lower income folks to live with a similar geography.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declinism

  11. >> Lets not get carried away with the crime drama. Remember crime rate is a much better gauge than actual counts as the population has increased dramatically in this area.

    Whether crime count or crime rate, the trend is the same and very clear. From 2013 to 2017, Seattle’s population grew by 11%. But the murders and assaults grew much, much faster (see my comment above). In other words, our rate of murder and assault, independent of population, has grown substantially from 2013 to 2017. And in every place it has been legalized, their rates for murder and violent assault substantially outstripped places that hadn’t legalized it.

    And please, don’t compare crime today from the 1980’s. That was the high water mark for crime across the country. It has steadily been declining since then and only in the last few years showed an uptick.

    Big Pot Inc told us crime would go down.

    >> I’d blame opioids or alcohol or even economic issues for the current increase over the last couple years in violent crime before weed.

    You might. But researchers don’t. Looking at the people on the streets, they aren’t alcoholics, shaking and humbly asking for money–instead, most are suffering from drug-induced psychosis and schizophrenia–howling at the moon, soiling themselves and raging at invisible machines. And the links between pot and these incurable conditions are pretty clear: The National Academy of Medicine wrote in 2017 “Cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” The younger you start and the more you smoke, the more likely you are to suffer from schizophrenia.

    Opiod drugs are often the easiest way to silence the demons the surface when using high-potency canibus. In other words, increased pot use leads to psychosis and schizophrenia in some, and once you are suffering from the delusions, you are driven to self-medicate those away with opiods. Not everyone must take that path of course. But as the data below indicates, increases in psychosis and schizophrenia are easily measured and easily related to high-potency THC.

    Remember, it took decade for the connection between smoking and lung cancer to appear. We’re seeing the connection between pot and impaired mental health much sooner.

    >> Also, usage is not spiking with teens in WA according to long term studies.

    Wrong. The very study you link to says this as the first sentence in the “Conclusions and Relevance” paragraph: “Among eighth and 10th graders in Washington, perceived harmfulness of marijuana use decreased and marijuana use increased following legalization of recreational marijuana use.”

    See that? Kids increasingly view pot as “healthful” and good for them and are using more of it. Thanks Big Pot Inc, for the relentless advertising that this is a healthy drug to spend your days on.

    >> Legalization is far better than criminalization by any standard but of course that will be debated forever

    There was a time when smoking was deemed healthful, just as pot is today. Doctors touted its ability to cure just about anything. And so did Big Tobacco. People look back today at the 1940’s and 50’s and wonder how could we have gotten things so wrong??? How could the gov have encouraged this and scientists advocated for tobacco?

    Well, we’re watching it play out again with pot. If you think in 50 years we’ll look back at this drug and wonder why it wasn’t legalized sooner, you are high. The science is already pretty clear that a sizable % of those that use it regularly will have serious cognitive problems, and a smaller but still very relevant % of the population will succumb to lifelong debilitating illnesses including psychosis and schizophrenia. Half of new psychosis cases in Amsterdam were linked to high-potency pot (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(19)30048-3/fulltext). Half! See too https://www.apnews.com/4f9b18c6ac0d4cd5a8c5ab85157ce190

    Obesity increases your risk for heart attack by 60%. High-potency canabis increases your risk for psychosis nearly 400% (5X). In other words, high-potency pot is nearly 10X more of a contributor to psychosis than being fat is for heart attacks. Think how much our government spends educating about the dangers of being overweight. Heart attacks usually happen later in life, after you’ve raised your kids. Psychosis from pot happens early in life. And it’s debilitating beyond words. Do you think there are a lot of people in good jobs suffering from psychosis and schizophrenia? Nope. Ignoring the powerful drugs needed to keep these conditions in check, it’s very hard to function in society when fighting these chronic lifetime conditions. Some 90% with these afflictions cannot hold down a basic job.

    If it was learned that a Roundup residue in our foods was responsible for a 400% increase in psychosis, it would be made illegal overnight and Monsanto would be put out of business via lawsuits. You would flip out if you saw your neighbor spraying it. And yet, here you are advocating a dispensary for this product be put into a shopping center in North Bend, to be purchased by parents and then pilfered by their kids who want to see what the buzz is all about.

    And you didn’t even address how badly the poor and persons of color have been impacted by this.

    Assume for a moment that these statements are true: Legalizing pot disproportionately hurts minority and poor kids, that it substantively increasing episodes of psychosis and schizophrenia in users at all levels, it’s daily use is cheap and easy, that people that use it regularly have reduced motivation and drive and suffer economically for their decisions in the form of lost advancement and wages at work.

    Would you still want it legalized and a store for it located in North Bend?

  12. Great let’s open a safe injection site and an abortion clinic next door.
    And a strip club…why not?
    Stay trashy North Bend
    Good job Mike McCarty

  13. Have any of you ever been to an actual dispensary? The false perception you’re spewing couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve seen everyone from seniors to suburban moms to business owners. You’ll see in Issaquah this has done nothing to create more issues or crime. Complete opposite. I’ve been using recreationally for many years and own a home, have held the same job for 20+ years in a senior position, have a university degree and still function as a normal, responsible person. The hypocrisy of allowing bars all along the main North Bend strip and saying that’s ok is absurd. People have ruined lives for many years on alcohol and drunk driving, but not a single death related to smoking. Don’t be so ignorant.

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