Judge Upholds Pierce County’s Retail Pot Ban

WASHINGTON:  Pierce County’s ban on retail marijuana shops survived a court challenge Monday, but an appeal to higher courts looms as the statewide weed wars continue.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper sided with lawyers for Pierce County and the state, echoing a ruling he made earlier this year tied to a similar ban in the city of Fife. Statewide, it’s the fifth court ruling since August upholding bans by local governments.

“The county’s ban does not conflict with 502,” Culpepper said, referring to the statewide initiative approved by voters in 2012 that created a regulatory system for the sale and purchase of recreational marijuana.

Attorneys for a group of licensed marijuana retailers and the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the county’s ban conflicts with the provisions of I-502. The ban, passed by the county council in 2013, cites federal law and prohibits retail marijuana licensing in the county until federal authorities remove marijuana from a list of illegal controlled substances.

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