Washington state lawmakers seek to place a ban on cities banning pot shops


Both Colorado and Washington made history in 2012 by becoming the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults. But while Colorado-based pot shops have been raking in mile-high profits since implementing the new laws at the beginning of this year, folks in Washington are still waiting for the green light to begin their own green rush.

But not everyone in Washington is excited about the controversial new industry coming to their neck of the woods. Nearly three dozen of the state’s 75 largest cities, towns, and municipalities have scrambled to enact ordinances, restrictions, and outright bans to keep any eventual recreational weed stores from opening up in their neighborhood.
As covered by local KING 5 News, a new bill (HB 2144) is in the works that would effectively place a ban on any future bans on pot shops, and it has some city officials hot under the collar.

Pierce County is one of the municipalities that has enacted a de facto ban on weed stores, and Council Chairman Dan Roach is not happy about the proposed ban on bans one bit, stating, “I think it’s a wrong way to go. Local control is very important.”
The bill has passed all the necessary procedures and will go before lawmakers for a vote in the next few months. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Cary Condotta, disagrees with Roach’s criticisms, telling KING 5 News, “It will increase participation, it’ll widen the geographic area we’re working with and make a more seamless system.”
In a fair analogy, Condotta drew a comparison between laws passed allowing marijuana use other controversial but popularly passed laws, saying, “I’ve likened it to gay marriage. They didn’t vote for it in Tri-Cities, but do they ban it? No. That’s not the way it works.”
Of course, I-502, the state’s recreational pot law, passed with plenty of support in Roach’s Pierce County, but he claims that he still has constituents who don’t want ganja right next to their “kids and family”.
Condotta warns, realistically, that black markets will continue to thrive if the network of legal, regulated weed stores is broken by unwilling regions of the state. “What some of the cities don’t seem to understand is that this is all being done already: The pot is being sold, it’s unregulated, it’s not being taxed,” said Condotta. “We’ve got to capture this black market and move it into the light.”

Her bill would entice cities to play along by promising to funnel them 30% of the state’s tax revenues on future recreational weed sales.
If HB2144 is passed, the new bill will make it illegal for any city to enact any type of outright ban on growing or selling recreational weed, and would force them to treat marijuana-related businesses just like any other.