Lacey council approves alcohol at park events

Lone dissenting vote comes from outgoing councilman who is marijuana advocate

rboone@theolympian.comDecember 20, 2013 

The Lacey City Council on Thursday night approved a two-year trial period to allow alcohol to be served and consumed at two community events that take place at two Lacey parks.

The council approved the proposal on a 6-to-1 vote but, true to his word, councilman Ron Lawson, who said he would not support the proposal at last week’s study session, voted against the special event permits to serve alcohol.

Now that it has been approved, those who attend the Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival at the Regional Athletic Complex, and the barbecue festival at Huntamer Park, can expect to purchase alcohol, likely wine or beer, at those events. Both gatherings take place in July.

Hawks Prairie Rotary had sought the special event permit for the mushroom festival, while the Lacey Chamber of Commerce had sought it for the barbecue festival.

The trial period begins Jan. 1, 2014, and ends Dec. 31, 2015.

Other details:

 • The permit would require an application fee of $50 and an alcoholic beverage area fee of $100 per day. The mushroom festival is a two-day event and the barbecue festival is a one-day event.

 • Alcohol servers and security personnel must receive the appropriate permits and training.

 • One percent of gross sales from the events would go toward a Lacey Parks and Recreation Department scholarship fund and summer lunch/Playground Pals program fund.

Lawson, a marijuana user and marijuana advocate, once again spoke out against the proposal.

“Here we are allowing alcohol that has historically been responsible for killing human beings, and we simply won’t open our eyes to the reality that a harmless substance (marijuana) that is used by more than half of the population in this country, isn’t allowed to have the same recognition that a deadly drug (alcohol) has,” he said.

Lawson uses marijuana to treat chronic pain after he was involved in a serious car accident.

Deputy Mayor Jason Hearn said some might think the city is promoting alcohol, but he said it is about helping the two sponsors of the events “manage the reasonable use of alcohol.”

Prior to the council meeting, there was a farewell reception for Lawson, who lost in last month’s general election. He will be replaced on the council by Michael Steadman, a commercial real estate developer. Steadman previously served on the Lacey Planning Commission.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

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