Yakima County To Ban All Pot-Related Business Soon – Follows City Lead
Besides a moratorium and probable ban in the City of Yakima, County Commissioners have now taken steps to "wipe out" all possibilities of pot-related businesses in unincorporated areas.
According to the Yakima Herald-Republic, and our sister station KIT-AM in Yakima, commissioners Tuesday approved a land-use ordinance that will prohibit growing, processing and selling marijuana in all unincorporated areas of Yakima County.
Commissioners, in taking the opposite track of the County Planning Commission (who favored allowing such business), said they based their decision on the fact that a clear majority of voters rejected Initiative 502. Commissioner Kevin Bouchey said at the Tuesday meeting that "58% rejected I-502. I was elected to represent the best interests of the residents of Yakima County" and he's ready to move forward with the ban. (Bold lettering added for emphasis).
About 10 people attended the meeting, several who spoke, including Judith Haney, who's the director of a local pro-pot group called CAUSE-M. She claimed the commissioners were not taking full public opinion into consideration.
That statement is rather curious, especially since (as noted earlier in this story) 58% of the county voters said "no." According to the Herald-Republic:
"Commissioners also cited an opinion from the state Attorney General’s Office that I-502 does not prevent local governments from banning marijuana operations. Commissioners noted that their land-use ordinance bans the production and sale of recreational marijuana, but doesn’t impact laws allowing people to merely possess legal amounts of the drug for recreational or medicinal use."
Ever since AG Bob Ferguson offered his non-legally binding opinion earlier this year, the state has seen a flurry of communities either take action similar to Yakima's, or at least extend pot moratoriums indefinitely. The ACLU and others who helped write the initiative, are now faced with an uphill climb trying to find ways to fight Ferguson's opinion, and somehow "force" municipalities to allow the pot business.