Clark County WA Commissioners Ban Recreational Marijuana Facilities Outside City Limits

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.

WA State Attorney General Expects Court Challenge To Local Pot Bans

WASHINGTON: The right of city and county governments to ban marijuana businesses allowed by state law will face a court challenge, likely to the state Supreme Court, said state Attorney General Bob Ferguson during meetings Wednesday in Kittitas County.

Ferguson issued a legal opinion in January that local governments have a right to put their own regulations, or an outright ban, on state-licensed pot businesses allowed by the passage of Initiative 502 in November 2012.

Several city and county governments around the state, since the initiative’s approval by state voters, have taken action to prohibit licensed marijuana businesses from operating within their jurisdictions, or have issued moratoriums pending future legal determinations.

Marijuana expert suggests state contract with feds

COLORADO: A professor who serves as a lead consultant on implementing Washington state’s marijuana law has suggested that the U.S. Department of Justice enter into contracts with both Washington and Colorado to avoid a federal crackdown on state-licensed businesses that will sell marijuana. [Read more…]