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Proposed law targets cities that don't allow marijuana sales

Washington state lawmakers want cities to decide whether marijuana businesses will be permitted to operate in their jurisdictions. In fact, one state representative submitted legislation - proposed House Bill 1099 - which would inflict a penalty on cities that still prevent marijuana sales.

The proposed penalties would apply to cities that are blocking marijuana shops based on federal laws. These cities are citing federal law, but have yet to enact a specific local ban.

If passed, House Bill 1099 would strip cities of their liquor revenues as punishment.

Measure targets Lakewood in Pierce County

House Bill 1099 is targeting the city of Lakewood in Pierce County, where city council members have not approved an official ban on marijuana sales. Nevertheless, marijuana sales are not permitted there because Lakewood's city licensing rules require compliance with federal law.

Under the measure, cities such as Lakewood would continue to have the right to ban marijuana sales, but they would need to pass local laws to enforce such a ban. Failure to create a local ban will trigger the penalty for cities that currently don't allow pot businesses to operate.

Status of marijuana legalization in Washington

With the passing of Initiative 502 over four years ago, Washington citizens voted to approve recreational marijuana sales. Still, it has taken some areas of Washington some time to catch up to the new laws.

According to the chairman of the state House committee that oversees marijuana policy, when cities like Lakewood prevent marijuana businesses from operating, they are ignoring the people's decision on Initiative 502.

Marijuana is still illegal in many other states

Just because recreational marijuana is legal in Washington does not mean it's safe for Washington residents to use marijuana in other parts of the United States. Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, there is the danger of Washington residents getting charged with a federal crime relating to their marijuana use.

If you are facing federal marijuana charges, you may want to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can assist in your defense.

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