Summary: A town in Washington, Fife, has banned marijuana stores from opening due to a couple of reasons, one of which is taxes not being sent to the city.
The Tacoma suburb of Fife is trying to prevent a marijuana shop from opening, according to The Associate Press.
Even though these types of businesses are legal in the state of Washington, Fife wants to remain free of any marijuana stores. The person who wants to open the store is Tedd Wetherbee. His lawyer asked a judge on Friday to strike down the city’s ban on marijuana businesses.
The judge’s ruling could have a major impact on the state’s economy because Fife is one of dozens of cities in the state that have banned marijuana processors, growers or retail stores.
Wetherbee has been paying $3,000 per month in rent for a storefront in Fife and claims that he is entitled to open his store under Initiative 502, which is the law that legalized marijuana and was passed by voters back in 2012.
The judge who was asked to strike down the ban was Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper. He was asked to determine if the law leaves any room for local bans and if not, could the entire legal pot system in the state be invalidated based on the incompatibility with the federal ban on marijuana.
Culpepper questions the city attorney for Fife, Loren Combs, “If every town and every county is allowed to opt out, doesn’t that completely gut the initiative?”
Combs responded by saying that the creators of the law could have forbidden local bans. He said, “They didn’t.”
The ban in Fife was adopted this summer by City Council. They adopted the ban based on concerns surrounding the number of pot sellers that could open in the city, the impact on the community in terms of police resources and the fact that there are no taxes from the sales going back to the city.
Culpepper is not expected to issue a ruling in whole or in part until Friday.