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Published on Friday, January 15, 2016

Bill limiting city authority to ban marijuana businesses heard in committee

As we reported last week, HB 1438 would limit cities’ ability to prohibit the production, processing and sale of marijuana in their communities by requiring any such prohibition to only be enacted by a public vote. Currently cities have the authority to place bans or moratoriums on such activities through ordinances.

The bill was heard in the House Commerce & Gaming Committee on January 12. AWC and the Washington State Association of Counties staff testified in opposition to the bill. However, it appears that a majority of the committee members are supportive of the legislation. In particular, the Committee Chair, Rep. Chris Hurst (D-Enumclaw), said he supports local preemption because he believes bans on marijuana retailers encourage the black market. He believes this increases crime and that for marijuana legalization to work there must be sufficient access to limit the impact of the black market. Given this support, we expect the bill will pass out of committee sometime this week. It will be important for you to express your opposition to this bill by contacting local legislators to keep it from advancing further.

Categories: Marijuana