Challenge to WA cannabis residency requirement returned to state court

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A legal challenge to the Washington state’s cannabis licensing residency requirement is being sent back to state court by a federal judge.

U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle wrote in his order Monday that while he has jurisdiction, case law indicates federal courts should abstain until state-law questions have been resolved.

The plaintiff, Idaho businessman Todd Brinkmeyer, claims that the state’s marijuana residency requirement violates the U.S. and Washington constitutions, and that regulators exceeded their rulemaking authority.

The case recently sparked tension between the Washington CannaBusiness Association and the state attorney general.

The AG’s office filed a brief in the federal court case saying that “no federal constitutional protections exist for a federally illegal marijuana activity.”

Vicki Christophersen, executive director of the Washington CannaBusiness Association, responded with a sharply worded letter to the AG’s office.

“Your position that our state’s cannabis industry does not enjoy the same protections as every other lawful Washington business undermines the will of state voters who overwhelmingly approved the creation of a legal marketplace in 2012,” she wrote.

The AG’s office didn’t respond to a query by Marijuana Business Daily about the dispute.