OLYMPIA, Wash.— Washington cities or counties looking to opt-out of state-licensed marijuana sales may not have that option much longer.
A house bill banning bans on the growth, production or sales of marijuana under Initiative-502 passed out of a committee Wednesday.
”It will increase participation, it’ll widen the geographic area we’re working with and make a more seamless system,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Cary Condotta, R-Wenatchee.
Pierce County and a number of Washington cities have passed bans or moratoriums on I-502 related businesses.
”I think it’s a wrong way to go,” said Dan Roach, Pierce County Council Chairman, “Local control is very important.”
I-502 passed in Pierce County but Roach supported the moratorium after hearing from constituents who did not want retail locations in the unincorporated parts of the county.
He said the state should not force local jurisdictions to have pot retail locations just because voters supported the measure.
”It doesn’t necessarily mean, ‘Hey, I didn’t want you to regulate it in my backyard. I didn’t want a pot shop right next to my kids and family.’”
Representative Condotta said marijuana’s black market won’t go away if only certain counties or cities allow licensed pot sales.
Condotta said local governments cannot decide what state laws to follow.
”I’ve likened it to gay marriage,” said Condotta, “They didn’t vote for it in Tri-Cities, but do they ban it? No. That’s not the way it works.”