Fighting Pot Lawsuit Is "What The People Want" In Kennewick - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fighting Pot Lawsuit Is "What The People Want" In Kennewick

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As the holders of a lottery won pot business license file the paperwork and prepare to fight the City of Kennewick, the city says it's ready to fight back. As the holders of a lottery won pot business license file the paperwork and prepare to fight the City of Kennewick, the city says it's ready to fight back.
KENNEWICK, WA - As the holders of a lottery won pot business license file the paperwork and prepare to fight the City of Kennewick, the city says it's ready to fight back.

Ever since Initiative 502 passed in Washington State, individual cities and counties have been left with some hard decisions. Many of their residents don't want the businesses. To ban or not to ban is the question and they knew the result either way could be legal action.

"I-502 as drafted did not have preemptive language in it. There isn't any other law that preempts the city from adopting zoning regulations in general," explained City of Kennewick Attorney Lisa Beaton.

The cities of Washington are left with a choice to zone the businesses away from their residents or face possible scrutiny from people who don't want marijuana in their city.

"We also get quite a few nuisance complaints at the city."

They know that people don't like it. Reports are constantly coming in of people growing medical plants in their yards. The medical industry is so unregulated according to the city attorney that they have to give law enforcement advice on how to deal with some of those reports; trying to enforce the laws they can without overstepping.

"Prosser is not that far away, it's about a 50 minute drive. Additionally, Benton County has allowed it."

Americanna Weed Company is the group filing injunction papers with the city. Their attorney tells NBC Right Now, one of their main arguments is that there is not legal pot available in our area and to deny those stores is undermining I-502. The city says they can grow it elsewhere.

"Really the crux of the matter is, 'does the city have the authority under the statute as is drafted to adopt a ban?' That might change in the future."

That change would most likely come from the people of our area. Do we want pot or not? Their attorney says the Kennewick City Council is going with what the people want right now.

“They believe that constituents want the ban in place.

We reached out to Americanna Weed Company through their attorney for a comment but they refused to speak at this time. The City of Kennewick also believes their decision to enact the ban is backed by the opinion of Washington's Attorney General. 
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