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ACLU Says It Will Sue Washington Cities and Counties That Ban Pot Stores

ACLU says legal action will be taken if "necessary"
(Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

This week Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he sees no problem with county and municipal governments banning marijuana retail stores. The American Civil Liberties Union says it will respond with legal action if needed.

Alison Holcomb, who was the lead “architect” in writing the measure, says the ACLU will “go to court if necessary” if cities and counties choose to ban pot stores within their city limits.

Ferguson said in his opinion he felt the language in the measure gave leeway to cities and counties to ban the stores; that they could enact stricter measures than was was contained in the bill. Washington voters approved legalization over a year ago.

Holcomb works for the ACLU.

While numerous cities — over two dozen — have set up the necessary legal and zoning provisions to allow the stores, dozens of others have set moratoriums and even banned the stores outright. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer political blog from Friday, Holcomb was quoted as saying:

The ACLU will continue to work to ensure full and fair implementation of the intent of the voters in passing 502, as expressed in the very first section of the initiative: Adoption of a law that takes marijuana ‘out of the hands of illegal drug organizations and brings it under a tightly regulated, state-licensed system.'”

Supporters such as Holcomb claim allowing cities and counties to ban pot stores will make it more difficult for the state stores to compete and eventually squeeze out the black market, and will deprive the state Liquor Control Board of projected revenue from pot sales.


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