A judge in Washington State has upheld a municipality’s authority to ban marijuana retailers, though not under federal law.
Judge Ronald Culpepper ruled that the city of Fife can deny retailer licenses to prospective cannabis businesses, but he said that right is given under the state’s recreational marijuana law (Initiative 502).
The city argued that it should be allowed to deny retailer licenses because marijuana is illegal at the federal level. Culpepper, however, said “there is not federal pre-emption here.”
The case involved a prospective marijuana retailer, Tedd Wetherbee, who sued the city over its ban on marijuana businesses.
The ruling is in line with what state officials argued should be the correct outcome. Wetherbee, however, said he plans to appeal the decision, and Washington’s attorney general said he expects the case to end up in the state’s Supreme Court.
While local moratoriums against marijuana businesses are common and allowed under most state laws, the reasoning behind the bans presented by Fife was of particular concern to the wider cannabis industry. Had the court upheld Fife’s reasoning, it could have “destroyed” the state’s entire recreational marijuana law, Wasington’s attorney general said.