WASHINGTON: The Clark County Board of Commissioners approved a ban Tuesday on the processing, production and sale of marijuana within its jurisdiction despite statewide legalization.
Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke affirmed the ordinance, effectively banning retail marijuana businesses from taking root on unincorporated land. They cited federal law outlawing marijuana as a motivating factor in making their decision.
“It’s important to recognize we’re an arm of the state government and the federal government,” Mielke said. “And the state and the federal are not in agreement.”
The ban is similar to one passed this year by Pierce County. The ordinance calls for marijuana processing and sales to remain off limits on county land unless the federal government legalizes it. That comes despite the passage of Initiative 502, approved by voters in 2012, which legalized the production and retail sale of marijuana.
The commissioners’ decision Tuesday was expected by many. Commissioners had long voiced their opposition to marijuana businesses’ developing on county land. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s written decision this year that local jurisdictions could ban recreational marijuana businesses added clarity to the process.
Mielke Tuesday said allowing marijuana sales would add strain on county resources, including law enforcement. A lively crowd that filled the commissioners’ boardroom Tuesday disagreed, at times loudly and profanely. Late in the meeting, sheriff’s deputies were called to the boardroom to observe the proceedings.