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Washington Judge Says Marijuana Store Bans Are Legal


medical marijuana advertising ban outdoor denverLate Friday a Washington State judge ruled in favor of a town that banned legal recreational marijuana sales. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper’s ruling came after extensive arguing by all sides. The case involved the attorney for the Tacoma suburb of Fife, the attorney for a store owner who wants to operate in Fife, as well as the Washington Attorney General who was there to protect state law. Per ABC News:

Fife’s lawyers argued that nothing in the state law overruled cities’ zoning authority, while Wetherbee’s attorneys insisted that if local governments can ban licensed growers, processor and sellers, it would undermine voters’ desire to displace illegal pot sales.

Culpepper said Wetherbee did not prove that banning pot shops in such a small city — 5 square miles and fewer than 10,000 people — would thwart the will of the voters; there are shops open in neighboring Tacoma.

The analysis might be different for bans in Pierce County or other more populous or larger parts of the state, Culpepper suggested.

Right now there are 28 cities in Washington and two counties that have outright banned marijuana stores from opening and operating in their jurisdictions. Many more municipalities have issued moratoriums to prevent shops from opening until they can establish their own rules.

For the sake of hurting the black market, and for the sake of the future of the industry, I hope this issue gets resolved. An appeal is imminent, which could lead to a different decision. As the judge suggested, the analysis could be different for challenges in other areas. At least one prominent marijuana activist, Dan Riffle from the Marijuana Policy Project, hopes that there is no appeal. Dan Riffle tweeted after the ruling, stating, “Local bans? No problem. Importance of Fife #I502 ruling is no federal preemption finding. I hope there’s no appeal.”


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Johnny Green


  1. This reminds me of when the alcohol prohibition was repealed many cities and counties across America chose to stay “dry”. And some of them still are. When tax dollars start flowing, they may change their minds, but until then, they should not be allowed to benefit from ANY tax dollars the state takes in.

  2. Cities (Town’s)/Counties that opt out will receive none of Washington State’s recreational marijuana tax revenue proceeds . They can’t have it both way’s ! This seems fair at least.

  3. Captain Obvious on

    By not having cannabis, less cash will be flowing in that city. That alone will be crippling to many no name neo-con clone towns. Imagine how the world economy would crash today if everyone were to stop trading cannabis?

  4. Small enough to boycott.. Financial hurt for a town or city will really send a crippling effect.!!

  5. So build a shop in a bigger town or 5.5 miles out. It’s a dumb rule and I hope he wins but it’s only 10,000 people so about 3000 are legal age to consume marijauna. So that means probely 1/3 of people left may be a customer. I would find a better location.

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