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Former state Republican Rep. John Ahern is hoping to topple Council President Ben Stuckart this November by running on a platform of improving the business climate and reversing an ordinance preventing city employees from inquiring into people’s immigration status.
Earlier in the campaign, Ahern, 80, expressed support for putting a moratorium on all recreational marijuana businesses. As his campaign has drug on, his calls for a halt to marijuana businesses in Spokane have become less frequent.
sat down with Ahern to ask his thoughts on marijuana. His remarks have been lightly edited.
: First of all, I'll just tell you, I quit smoking cigarettes 41 years ago last April 17. I remember the date. I was a heavy smoker and very addicted, and I finally got to where I couldn't stand the smell of cigarette smoke.
Have you ever smelled marijuana smoke?
Oh god, that’s worse. I think.
When have you smelled marijuana smoke?
I'll never forget the time. I was making a sales call at this church near a high school. Apparently, the secretary wasn’t there but there was five kids in the basement just high on marijuana.
Have you ever seen what marijuana looks like? It's a putrid green. God, how can anyone smoke that stuff?
But you've never smoked it?
Oh, god no.
Do you know anyone who does?
Yeah, I sure do, Stuckart
. He's a regular joint smoker, and of course we have [Councilwoman] Karen Stratton, who grows it.
I don't know if she smokes it or not. I don't know if that guy is riding high when he comes into the meetings, but he's got a bad temper. That guy needs an effective course in anger management, and I intend to teach him that course. It will be a four-year course after I get elected.
Does marijuana have medical benefits?
Oh, it does. Yes, that's ok, but recreational, I wouldn't go for it.
Well, here's the thing, it lasts 30 to 45 days in your system and a lot of companies today require checking on marijuana. Marijuana at a federal level is in the same category as heroin and some other drugs.
Do you think it's as bad as heroin?
But it's pretty bad?
It's not that devastating for the body, but, again, if it lasts up to 45 days in your system, it’s not very good.
What does it do to people?
I don't know exactly what it does. It gives them a calming effect. I really don't know. I've heard that kids that start smoking it at 12, 13, 14. That can affect their minds and so on. So it's not exactly a plus, that's the way I look at it.
Would you pursue the moratorium?
If that came up, I'd definitely do it.
Would you pursue it though?
Yeah, if it looked like the majority of the people I talked to wanted it, I would.
What if it put businesses out of business?
It wouldn't bother me a bit. As a matter of fact, at the Chase Youth Commission candidates forum that was a question. I simply said that one of the ladies I talked to last week when I was doorbelling suggested that we have a drug check on city council. I think that'd be pretty good to find out who's flying high and who's level.
In other news:
In Washington, it’s illegal to drive around with an open container or weed, and the cops are looking for it.
At last night’s Democratic presidential debate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders expressed support for legalizing marijuana.
Speaking of presidential candidates, Republican Sen. Rand Paul gave an interview
with iconic stoner magazine High Times.
The city of Kennewick is considering restrictions
on outdoor medical grows.
Good news for legalization efforts in the Buckeye State: A poll shows support in Ohio for legalizing marijuana.