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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Holmes' comments on AG's opinion on I-502

1/16/2014  5:30:00 PM
Kimberly Mills  (206) 684-8602

“I sponsored I-502 because I believe the causes of public safety, public health and personal freedom are best served by removing marijuana from the illegal market and keeping money out of the hands of drug dealers. I-502 allows us to focus on constructively addressing dependency, keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors, and fighting impaired driving without escalating the failed drug war.

“To make I-502 succeed and implement the will of Washington’s voters, it is important that local governments be partners, not roadblocks. Like the Washington State Liquor Control Board, I am dismayed by the policy implications stemming from today’s Attorney General’s Opinion, which interprets I-502 as allowing local governments to ban outright I-502 licensed producers, processors and retailers from their jurisdictions. As the Attorney General’s Opinion itself stated, “if a large number of jurisdictions were to ban licensees, it could interfere with the measure’s intent to supplant the illegal marijuana market.” I urge local governments to be mindful of this concern and carefully, thoughtfully zone I-502 licensees without prohibiting them outright.

“The Attorney General’s Opinion notes that the Legislature can clarify local jurisdictions’ zoning authority. The Legislature should support I-502’s implementation by taking this step. RCW 69.51A.140, which would allow local jurisdictions to zone -- but not prohibit altogether -- licensed marijuana businesses, was enacted as part of SB 5073 and could be a model for legislatively enacted I-502 zoning authority. I also urge the Legislature to make local jurisdictions stronger partners in I-502’s landmark system of legalization with taxation and regulation by passing HB 2144 -- and sharing a portion of the retailer excise tax revenue with local jurisdictions that welcome I-502 licensed retailers.”

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