A Chelan County judge ruled cities and counties can ban pot businesses, according to a news release from the State Attorney General’s office, which intervened in the case. The ruling agrees with that of a Pierce County judge about a similar case regarding the city of Fife.
In Fife, a prospective marijuana retailer was suing the city and hoped the judge would compel Fife to issue a business license. The retailer lost and has appealed the case to the state Supreme Court. The Supreme Court could take up the case as early next year.
Both judges hewed closely to the state Attorney General’s opinion that localities could ban marijuana businesses. Neither judge directly addressed whether federal law trumps that of the state in regulating marijuana.
Proponents of Initiative 502 argue that allowing local governments to ban marijuana businesses guts the initiative and will allow the black market to thrive in areas of the state where pot businesses are not allowed to operate. The Legislature could take up the issue.
“Now it is up to the Legislature to decide whether to require local governments to allow for the sale of marijuana,” said Ferguson in a news release.