4th Washington judge upholds pot-business ban

Clark, Benton, Chelan and Pierce counties want to have their own pot ordinances

Legal marijuana and a gavel (KOIN 6 News, file)
Legal marijuana and a gavel (KOIN 6 News, file)

KELSO, Wash. (AP) – A fourth Washington state judge says cities and counties can ban licensed marijuana businesses within their jurisdictions.

The state Attorney General’s Office says Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Michael Evans issued his ruling Wednesday in a case brought against neighboring Clark County. The plaintiffs, Emerald Enterprises LLC and John M. Larson, had argued that Washington’s legal pot law did not leave room for such local bans.

But the judge disagreed, joining judges in Benton, Chelan and Pierce counties. The rulings comport with a legal analysis issued by Attorney General Bob Ferguson early this year, in which he said nothing in Washington’s legal pot law explicitly overruled local zoning authority.

The plaintiffs in the Pierce County case have appealed to the state Supreme Court, which has not announced whether it will accept it.

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