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House bill would prohibit recreational marijuana business bans by Kent, other cities

Ten state representatives introduced a House bill Tuesday in Olympia that would prohibit local governments from banning recreational marijuana businesses.

The city of Kent has a six-month ban against recreational marijuana businesses and city officials are looking at changing land use codes to stop the retail, processor or producer businesses from opening in town.

Voters in 2012 approved the use and sale of recreational marijuana with the passage of Initiative 502. The state Liquor Control Board has taken applications and will award licenses this year.

The board has received more than 60 applications for properties in Kent despite the city's ban. The City Council adopted the ban in November because marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Sponsors of the bill include Larry Springer, Sam Hunt, David Sawyer, Cary Condotta, Sherry Appleton, Steve Kirby, Jake Fey, Joe Fitzgibbon, Jessyn Farrell and Chris Reykdal.

A portion of the House Bill 2322 reads:

"Cities, counties, and towns must cooperate with the liquor control board with respect to the establishment within their jurisdictional boundaries of businesses involved in the production, processing, or sale of recreational marijuana where such businesses are licensed under RCW 69.50.325. Subject to the regulatory requirements of this chapter, licensed marijuana businesses attempting to locate within the jurisdictional boundaries of a municipality must be treated the same as other businesses within that jurisdiction with respect to ordinances or regulations that include, but are not limited to, those pertaining to local business licensing, zoning, and land use."

The bill also would stop local governments from receiving their share of state liquor funds if the cities or counties keep their bans.

The bill would need to be passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor before becoming law.

The liquor board also is waiting for a ruling from the state attorney general about whether cities and counties have the authority to ban the marijuana businesses.

According to Seattle-based The Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy, 39 of the 75 most populous cities in Washington have passed moratoriums or outright bans. For a list of cities actions about marijuana businesses, go to cannabisandsocialpolicy.org or see the list here.

 

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