Carmen Miller (left) helps Ezekiel Engle with his selection at Tulalip Remedy in Tulalip on Aug. 22, 2018. The City of Everett is considering allowing more recreational cannabis stores in city limits. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Carmen Miller (left) helps Ezekiel Engle with his selection at Tulalip Remedy in Tulalip on Aug. 22, 2018. The City of Everett is considering allowing more recreational cannabis stores in city limits. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Everett leaders to ponder red-light cameras, adding pot shops

The controversial traffic enforcement idea is getting revived, and the five-store cap may double.

EVERETT — More cannabis shops and red-light cameras could come to the city.

An Everett ordinance caps the number of cannabis retail locations at five. And a decade ago the city was set for traffic enforcement cameras before it was scrapped. City councilmembers and staff are considering the benefits and risks of possibly doubling the retail total and setting up a red-light camera program during the Everett City Council public safety subcommittee at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Recreational marijuana was legalized in Washington after voters approved Initiative 502. Sales began in July 2014.

Everett cannabis retailer revenue
Infogram

It’s become a big business, totaling more than $1.04 billion in sales between July 2018 and June 2019, according to data from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. Excise tax from cannabis in Snohomish County during that same period totaled more than $41 million.

Those sales fed $208,355 for Everett’s coffers that year.

Like other retail stores, pot shops also have experienced property crime, such as burglaries, thefts and trespass complaints. Kushmart and Mari J’s, which was closed because it was caught in a fraudulent loan scheme, were outliers with higher than normal police calls, averaging 4.8 and 3.7 per month. The remaining three stores were about average for the number of police calls received from bars and taverns — about one or less per month, the mayor’s chief of staff told The Daily Herald in August.

There are at least 40 retail locations throughout Snohomish County, including two in unincorporated Snohomish County that are across the street and a few blocks away along Highway 99 in south Everett.

The subcommittee will review a map of possible locations given existing restrictions — 1,000 feet from schools and parks, not abutting single-family residential areas, and others — about where cannabis stores can operate.

“As we have the ordinance written right now, there are a few locations possible,” said Councilmember Liz Vogeli, who is in favor of allowing more cannabis businesses.

The subcommittee had asked staff to research how revenue changed in cities that added cannabis stores.

Everett is reconsidering its scrapped traffic-enforcement camera program from 2009 and following the likes of Lynnwood, which has brought in millions in revenue from fines. (Dan Bates / Herald file)

Everett is reconsidering its scrapped traffic-enforcement camera program from 2009 and following the likes of Lynnwood, which has brought in millions in revenue from fines. (Dan Bates / Herald file)

Red-light cameras have been controversial since they were first introduced, particularly around whether cities use them for revenue or safety. Lawsuits have been filed against cities that implemented them, including one against Lynnwood that was dismissed in 2018. Other cities, including Monroe, stopped using them after voters said nay in advisory elections.

Safety improvement when such cameras are in place is supported in some studies and disputed by others.

The result for city budgets is more certain.

Between 2007 when traffic-enforcement cameras were installed and 2016, Lynnwood brought in $19.2 million from traffic ticket fines. About 24,000 camera tickets are issued each year in Lynnwood, based on public records The Daily Herald reported.

Everett was all set to follow suit in 2009, but halted implementing them when a legal challenge was filed in King County.

Vogeli said she had not formed an opinion about Everett using the cameras and she had received only one comment in favor of them, and “a lot more” opposed. She said the city should be upfront about its motives if it installed them.

“If it is about actual safety, then great. There are a lot of reasons for it to be a safety item,” Vogeli said. “But if it is a revenue stream, then we need to be clear about that.”

The city was prompted by complaints to reconsider the red-light enforcement. Everett staff noted a study that showed cities with the cameras saw a 21% decrease in fatal collisions caused by running a red light and that, if removed, that type of crash increased by 30%.

The cameras take two pictures of vehicles and a few seconds of video near the rear license plate. Footage is reviewed by a police officer before a fine, similar to a parking ticket, is mailed out to the registered vehicle owner. Those infractions are not reported to insurance companies.

Revenue from the fines must go toward the cost of the program or traffic safety improvements, such as crosswalk or signal enhancements, or traffic safety enforcement.

The city council public safety subcommittee meeting will be at Everett City Council Chambers, 3002 Wetmore Ave.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Ready to go full sail’: Maritime Institute embarks at Port of Everett

The training facility offers Coast Guard-certified courses for recreational boaters and commerical vessel operators.

George Beard poses for a photo outside of the the Stanwood Library in Stanwood, Washington on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
From sick to the streets: How an illness left a Stanwood man homeless

Medical bills wiped out George Beard’s savings. Left to heal in his car, he got sicker. Now, he’s desperate for housing. It could take years.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lawsuit says Snohomish County deputies not justified in Sultan shooting

Two deputies repeatedly shot an unarmed Sultan man last year, body camera video shows. An internal investigation is pending.

An airplane is parked at Gate M9 on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Jordan Hansen/The Herald)
Good luck to Memorial Day travelers: If you’re like me, you’ll need it

I spent a night in the Chicago airport. I wouldn’t recommend it — but with flight delays near an all-time high, you might want to pack a pillow.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Friday, May 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Cascade’s Mia Walker, right, cries and hugs teammate Allison Gehrig after beating Gig Harbor on Thursday, May 23, 2024 in Lacey, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Seniors Wilson, Tripp power Cascade softball past Gig Harbor

The pair combined for three homers as the Bruins won the Class 3A state softball opening-round game.

The original Mountlake Terrace City Council, Patricia Neibel bottom right, with city attorney, sign incorporation ordinance in 1954. (Photo provided by the City of Mountlake Terrace)
Patricia Neibel, last inaugural MLT council member, dies at 97

The first woman on the council lived by the motto, “Why not me?” — on the council, at a sheriff’s office in Florida, or at a leper colony in Thailand.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.