A Benton County Superior Court judge ruled that local governments can ban recreational pot businesses, according to a news release from the state Attorney General’s Office.
It’s the third ruling that supports localities preventing pot businesses from operating, and it hews closely to the informal opinion presented by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson earlier this year.
“Three judges in three different parts of the state all ruled from the bench. None of them said we need more time to think about it,” Ferguson said about the judges’ rulings. “If those who wrote the legislation wanted to require jurisdictions to sell marijuana, they should have said so.”
The issue is expected to be brought before the state Supreme Court early next year.
Ferguson said the Legislature should consider adopting incentives for municipalities to allow marijuana businesses. That approach would call for the state to share legal recreational-marijuana revenue with cities and counties. Those choosing not to allow pot businesses wouldn’t benefit.