AG defends marijuana initiative in appeals court

Staff Writer

A state appeals court in Tacoma is hearing a challenge to the state's voter-approved recreational marijuana law.
Division Two of the Washington Court of Appeals began hearing arguments in MMH, LLC v. Fife after the Washington State Supreme Court declined to hear the case last June.
The plaintiffs seek to open a retail marijuana outlet in Fife, despite the city’s ban on such businesses. The city argues that it is not required to allow marijuana businesses under Initiative 502, a position consistent with an Attorney General’s Office opinion released in January 2014. The Attorney General’s Office intervened in — joined as a party to — the case (and similar cases filed against other jurisdictions) to defend I-502.
After a Pierce County Superior Court judge agreed with the office’s opinion last August, the plaintiffs filed a petition for review with the high court.
The Attorney General’s Office filed a response brief, upholding its duty to defend the will of the voters. MMH, LLC v. Fife was the first case challenging a local ban on retail marijuana outlets to be decided in a state trial court. All five courts to reach a decision on the issue to date have agreed with the Attorney General’s position.
The case will be argued on behalf of the state by Solicitor General Noah Purcell.