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AG office:Municipalities can ban marijuana business

January 16, 2014

In response to a request from Sharon Foster, chair of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, the Attorney General’s Office released a formal Attorney General’s Opinion today regarding local ordinances affecting new marijuana businesses in Washington.
Approved by voters in 2012, Initiative 502 legalized the possession and sale of recreational marijuana in Washington.
The formal opinion concludes I-502 as drafted and presented to the voters does not prevent local governments from regulating or banning marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions.
Current Deer Park ordinances ban marijuana business from locating within the city limits.
The opinion states:
“Under Washington law, there is a strong presumption against finding that state law preempts local ordinances. Although Initiative 502 establishes a licensing and regulatory system for marijuana producers, processors, and retailers in Washington State, it includes no clear indication that it was intended to preempt local authority to regulate such businesses. We therefore conclude that I-502 left in place the normal powers of local governments to regulate within their jurisdictions.”

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