Wenatchee, Washington City Council To Reconsider Prohibition of Marijuana Retailers After Lawsuit Filed

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Marijuana LeafCity of Wenatchee LogoWe reported last week of the City of Wenatchee prohibiting state licensed marijuana retailers and as a result a future retailer filed a civil suit against the city in Superior Court. It appears now the city council is trying to reverse its earlier position.

On Thursday of this week, the council held a public meeting after an executive council possibly discussing legal issues the city might face. During the public portion a majority of council members voted to direct the city attorney to draft an amendment to the ordinance that would omit a clause in the business licensing ordinance requiring businesses be compliant with federal law to be permitted to operate in the city.

One can probably surmise what instigated the city to have a change of heart, but the American Civil Liberties Union stated recently they would join the plaintiff’s case and were prepared to take the matter to the U.S. Supreme court.

The council meeting minutes had a rather curious entry regarding the executive session.

3:45 p.m. Executive Session to discuss with legal counsel representing the agency matters relating to agency enforcement actions, and to discuss with legal counsel representing the agency litigation or potential litigation to which the agency, the governing body, or a member acting in an official capacity is, or is likely to become, a party, when public knowledge regarding the discussion is likely to result in adverse legal or financial consequence to the agency. RCW 42.30.110(1)(i)

Councilwoman Karen Rutherford proposed the amendment during the meeting stating:

The citizens of the state of Washington, and the citizens of Chelan County, and the citizens of Wenatchee voted to approve the legalization of marijuana. Now we as a city need to look at how to make that possible…We would need to drop that federal requirement to allow a (marijuana) business permit. I believe our citizens who have voted for legalization of marijuana need us to take that step.

Two councilmen voted against the proposal stating they feared in doing so the city would be required to other businesses such as strip clubs and gambling establishments..

During this council meeting the city was ready to place a moratorium in place banning marijuana businesses for six months but after the lawsuit removed this from the agenda.

Recently it was revealed the ACLU would join the lawsuit against the city of the city elected to litigate. The organization stated it would like to appeal the matter potentially to the U.S. Supreme Court for a ruling on whether federal law can supercede state laws regarding marijuana legalization.

Councilman Keith Huffaker, who formerly staunchly opposed the marijuana business licensing now stated he supports the drafting of the new ordinance, saying it would allow the public an opportunity for public discussion on the issue.

Timing issues seemed to not be in favor of the city’s debate on the matter. The city has until June 24th to respond to the lawsuit. However, the next council meeting to rule on any adoption of the amended ordinance will not occur until the 26th. Due to this the council has directed the city attorney to file a response indicating the city would contest the matter. The likely reason for this is to avoid a possible default judgment against the city for failure to respond because the city has not adopted the ordinance pursuant to council meeting open hearings laws.

If the council votes to amend the ordinance the effective date is normally thirty days but the city attorney mentioned this could be done in five.

Marijuana retails may open for business in Washington beginning July first.

This misadventure to befall the City of Wenatchee could spawn in other cities and counties throughout the state where city councils and county commissioners have prohibited budding marijuana businesses. It might be prudent for these municipalities to follow suit and prevent tax dollars from going up in smoke; especially when the ACLU might get a whiff and want to join the party.

By Darren Smith

Sources:

Wenatchee World
Weantchee City Council adgenda for June 12th, 2014 (PDF)

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

20 thoughts on “Wenatchee, Washington City Council To Reconsider Prohibition of Marijuana Retailers After Lawsuit Filed

  1. The city is going to save itself some money by reviewing and revising its city code.

    That may allow some revenue generation by going with what the people voted for: “budding marijuana businesses” as Darren puts it.

  2. Criminalization of marijuana in nearly any regard is a waste of time & resources. Ask just about any cop.

    In Florida there is an example of one selfish, stupid pol on this issue. The name of the offensive creature: Debby Wassermann-Schultz. Truly a certified moron, and above all selfish, self-centered and exhibit one in a “professional politician”.

    What kind of government will we have when a majority of our congress, or senate (!), become made up of twits who went to college to “study” being a politician? It’s sick and anti-American.

  3. Next is the cathouse, then the crackhouse, then the betting window for the racetracks in California, then the slippery slope.

  4. Of course in Vegas, NV you can not operate a cathouse because of a city ordinance but its ok out in the boonies. Vegas sticks up for its no cathouse rule. It does not mean that cat cats are not welcome. Its the other kind of human cat. I work at the Motel Sex as a custodian for example. Good job. Good benefits, especially for an old fart.

  5. Councilwoman Karen Rutherford: “The citizens of the state of Washington, and the citizens of Chelan County, and the citizens of Wenatchee voted to approve the legalization of marijuana.”

    Finally. A politician who ‘gets it’. It’s been a long time in coming.

  6. “The citizens of the state of Washington, and the citizens of Chelan County, and the citizens of Wenatchee voted to approve the legalization of marijuana. Now we as a city need to look at how to make that possible…We would need to drop that federal requirement to allow a (marijuana) business permit. I believe our citizens who have voted for legalization of marijuana need us to take that step.”

    Didn’t the citizens of CA vote to approve Proposition 8?

    When did we switch from a Constitutional Republic to a Democracy?

    Or is this an issue which warrants “Selective Tenth Amendment” legitimacy?

  7. Paul,

    They’ll only argue for “progressive state’s rights,” and then demand federal funding for them.

    The hypocrisy on a highly regarded Constitutional Law Professor’s website truly amazes me.

    I could understand (and appreciate) debate and disagreement over SCOTUS rulings or the Constitution itself, but the majority of posters here* argue from a position that completely ignores or flat out disregards the Constitution.

    (*Not necessarily in this particular thread.)

  8. first off, addressing one of the comments above.…. is it really necessary to call Debby Wassermann-Schultz a CREATURE????

    I think calling her a lefty or left winger is sufficient enough without calling her a CREATURE….. just describe what she has done… that should be enough for others to determine if she is selfish or has another agenda …..

    Come on people…. YOU are on a Law blog… not Drudge report….

    and secondly…..
    I am of the opinion that the USA and Europe need to legalize ALL DRUGS….

    I mean cocaine… pot… heroin…. I mean ALL of it….
    It is ridiculous the amount of money that is spent on this prohibition….
    If we made it all legal and treated drug addiction as we do alcohol….
    It would better our society in so many ways…..

    This stuff with the way that they set up licensing of pot, has been going on with alcohol for ages….

    and fact is Wenatchee is just like small town middle America….
    It is a bit behind the times….. OK, a LOT behind the times…

    Just because it is in Washington State, in the same state as Seattle,
    doesn’t mean a thing……

    Whenever I went to Wenatchee, I always felt like I was in another state
    all together….

    I agree with Karen Rutherford… They need to find a way to be able to make this happen for the people who voted for this….

    and it should give you insight on what kind of town it is, when the other 2 members were concerned with having to allow this kind of thing with Strip Clubs and Gambling….

    Fact is… This is a small town trying to keep up with Seattle….
    You have a bunch of backwards people who are going to try to block progression at any cost…

    Thankfully, they do seem to have a FEW people who are not so backcountry….

  9. JAG – since you are in Europe Debby Wassermann-Schultz is not inflicted on you like she is inflicted on us. Creature is one of the nicest things you can say about her. However, I can see how you like her. She, like you, is good at changing the topic. Reread your post. You actually have several topics in there. BTW, The Drudge Report is a news aggregator, not a blog.

  10. Steve Kellam

    “The citizens of the state of Washington, and the citizens of Chelan County, and the citizens of Wenatchee voted to approve the legalization of marijuana. Now we as a city need to look at how to make that possible…We would need to drop that federal requirement to allow a (marijuana) business permit. I believe our citizens who have voted for legalization of marijuana need us to take that step.”

    Didn’t the citizens of CA vote to approve Proposition 8?

    ============================
    Marijuana is not contrary to the federal constitution.

    It is contrary to a law of the federal congress.

    Prop 8 violated the federal constitution.

    Sh*t matters.

  11. Paul C. Schulte

    … The Drudge Report is a news aggregator, not a blog.
    ===================
    It is a bad alligator and would fail as a blog.

    That is because sh*t matters.

  12. My point was that people, regardless of their political leanings should NOT be referring to a woman as a CREATURE…..

    You can argue a persons policies and not call them names…..

    and just because Drudge gets a lot of hits, only means that there is a LOT of crazy in the USA…. and that a LOT of people like being fed lies….

  13. JAG – Many of the hits on Drudge are from the WH and Obama administration. At one point they considered blocking the site and then decided against it. I think they did block it at some agencies.

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