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Maintain pot ban, voters tell county

Statewide, voters want taxes repealed

— Rural Yakima County voters don’t want retail marijuana businesses in their areas.

That’s the message a straw ballot was sending to county commissioners after the initial count of ballots in the Nov. 7 general election.

The non-binding Proposition No. 1 asked voters if the “Board of Yakima County Commissioners continue the complete ban of marijuana production, processing and retail sales within unincorporated Yakima County?”

Currently, retail marijuana sales are allowed within city jurisdictions, if city government authorizes it and the state allows the retail sale of pot.

But local voters were less interested in state law and more interested in keeping the local ban in place.

First-round general election results showed 11,803 voters, or 60.57 percent, supporting the ban. Only 7,682 voters, or 39.43 percent, rejected the ban on legalizing retail pot sales.

As of Tuesday night, a total of 20,050 ballots out of 114,411 sent to registered voters, or about 17.49 percent, had been returned.

Yakima County Auditor Charles Ross said previously he expected about a 30 percent turnout. If his prediction is accurate, at least 15,000 more late-arriving ballots have yet to be counted later this week.

Election results will be certified Nov. 28.

In other non-binding measures, voters statewide were asked to consider telling lawmakers to repeal taxes they implemented without voter approval during the last legislative session.

At press time, voters were calling for a repeal of all three of the taxes.

Advisory Vote No. 16 questioned the need for a food fish excise tax on certain salmon and game fish — 57.2 percent of voters called for a repeal; 42.8 percent voted to maintain.

Advisory Vote No. 17 asked if the business and occupation tax and certain retail sales and use tax exemptions should be repealed — 64.9 percent called for repeal while 35.1 percent said to maintain it.

Advisory Vote No. 18 challenged additional property taxes for schools — 61.7 percent of voters said to repeal; 38.3 percent said to maintain.

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