May 21, 2015

Local Governments Can Use Zoning to Ban Marijuana Gardens


The Washington Supreme Court made an important ruling today on collective gardens that grow marijuana. Though the Washington State Medical Use of Cannabis Act (MUCA) allows patients who qualify to pool resources and grow marijuana for their own use, MUCA also grants cities and towns the power to zone “production, processing, or dispensing” activities.


In Cannabis Action Council v. City of Kent, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Kent in an 8-1 decision, claiming that the city can lawfully create an ordinance banning collective gardens. Justice Gonzalez, the lone dissenting voice, claimed in his opinion that, “while a city may regulate consistent with MUCA, it may not completely ban what the state permits.” Gonzalez believes that using zoning regulations to eliminate all collective gardens within the city goes a step too far.


This decision seems predictable and confirms guidance from the Attorney General’s office on the recreational marijuana side. 


Read the entire opinion of the Supreme Court here.

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