WA Judges 4, Pot Supporters 0 – Another Court Upholds City, County Bans
0-4 isn't a good day at the office in baseball, or in the courts.
Another superior court judge in Washington state has sided with the opinion offered back in January by AG Bob Ferguson. If you recall, Ferguson said in a non-legally binding opinion, there's nothing in the language of I-502 that prevents cities and counties from banning all pot-related business and sales inside their own boundaries and limits.
And, Ferguson said he felt it would stand up in court. So far, he's undefeated. Wednesday, Ferguson's office said a judge in Cowlitz County upheld and agreed with Ferguson's opinion. Emerald Enterprizes LLC, a pot licensee, was actually suing Clark County, but filed in nearby Cowlitz to avoid what they felt was bias.
Regardless of the filing, Clark now joins Benton County Superior Court Judge Vic VanderSchoor, Chelan County and Pierce County rulings. Kennewick had been sued by a businessman who also was granted a pot license and was trying to force the city to allow him to sell pot. VanderSchoor agreed with Ferguson's opinion and dismissed the lawsuit.
After Ferguson issued his opinion, a domino effect of bans popped up in numerous cities and counties, leaving pot licensees no recourse but to sue. So far now, four Superior Court judges have said Ferguson's opinion was correct. Many experts say while there are a few cases still pending, it's not likely there will be more lawsuits over these bans. They say pot licensees will read the writing on the wall, and realize the growing precedent of judges shooting down the lawsuits.
It appears, as we at Newstalk 870 said weeks ago, the only recourse is to have I-502 amended to clean up any and all loopholes. It will then have to be re-submitted to voters and re-passed.