Local marijuana bans could be overturned
Following the City of Hoquiam’s recommendation to allow marijuana business within Industrial zones only after federal legalization, the moratoriums currently in place throughout Grays Harbor, and an opinion by the State Attorney General that said cities could impose their own local limitations; state lawmakers are now looking to prohibit local governments from passing sweeping ordinances banning pot-related businesses.
The biggest local government to declare itself a no-pot-store zone is Pierce County, but Yakima and Clark counties have said they’re not far behind. That clearly wasn’t the intent of the nearly 2 million Washington voters who passed Initiative 502, and bipartisan efforts are underway in Olympia to put a stop to blanket bans of legal, state-licensed businesses. Representative David Sawyer testified Thursday in a hearing for his House Bill 2322. Such bans amount to discrimination, he said, and ignore the will of the people.
Sawyer said,”I don’t want this conversation to be about marijuana. I hope folks look at this as a protection of the initiative process. We have seen too many local municipalities outright have very little regard for a law that was passed by the voters.”
Sawyer hopes for a quick thumbs-up from the House Judiciary Committee and a vote on the House floor before the deadline for passing bills in two weeks away.