Poulsbo resident produces film on pot ban

About 52 percent of Poulsbo residents voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana statewide in 2012. But legalized pot businesses won’t be opening in the Viking City anytime soon.

The City Council adopted a ban on marijuana enterprises (PDF) last summer that remains in effect.

Prior to the vote, council members voiced societal and moral concerns with legalizing pot. They also argued permitting and regulating the new industry would be expensive, and the city would receive negligible economic benefit in return.

The council’s decision to ban legal pot businesses didn’t sit well with Branden Heinemann, a 30-year-old military veteran and medical marijuana patient who lives in Poulsbo.

Heinemann decided to create a documentary examining the reasoning behind the ban, paying special attention to the economic argument, which Council Member Ed Stern outlined in a Seattle Times editorial.

Heinemann released his 18-minute, shoestring-budget film called “Pot in Poulsbo: A second look” on YouTube this month (it’s embedded above).

In the film, he interviews planners from surrounding cities and talks with state Rep. Sherry Appleton, D–Poulsbo, who offers a sharp rebuke of her hometown council’s pot ban.

Heinemann said he requested interviews with Stern and other Poulsbo city officials but was turned down. He hopes the film encourages other residents to ask questions about the city’s marijuana policies, and take a more active role in local government.

“The burden is on us to look at what’s going on at the community level and make sure democracy is being carried out,” he said. 

Poulsbo is one of 51 Washington cities to prohibit recreational marijuana businesses, according to the Association of Washington Cities. Many Washington cities have called on the Legislature to provide more local funding for recreational marijuana implementation.

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