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Sun., June 29, 2014

Legacy of Green Rush?

Legacy is how history remembers us.

Marijuana entrepreneurs fancy themselves architects of Washington’s “Green Rush.” They equate themselves with visionaries who built railways, explored wilderness, harvested timber and mined the Northwest’s rich deposits to cultivate Spokane.

The magnates certainly left fingerprints on Spokane. Money from their ventures rebuilt Spokane after the Great Fire, elevated Spokane to a great railroad center, built children’s homes, delineated public parks and pools, established private and public education, founded and improved health care, and brought affordable power to the masses. Charitable organizations thrived with contributions and hardworking citizens. Spokane benefited innumerably.

However, for-profit enterprises left in their wake displaced people, crime, price gouging, gangs, addiction, oppressive lending, gambling, bordellos and horrendous environmental damage. Many unintended human consequences persist at huge moral and societal cost. Inherited blight plagues whole neighborhoods and threatens others.

It remains to be seen if boutiques will coexist with a Wal-Mart mentality of bigger-cheaper, human costs aside. Money will be made, but at what true cost? Quality of life? Crime? Sobriety? Spokane’s reputation? What value (priceless!) do these things carry?

So, Green Rush entrepreneurs, customers and all associated goods and service providers: Are you investing in Spokane’s greater good?

What will your legacy be?

Ingrid Sievers


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