All the insults and acrimony should die down a bit now that the Attorney General of Washington State has given his opinion that local communities like Yakima do have the right to make land use decisions that include banning recreational marijuana.  The AG’s opinion was released this morning and it tracks exactly with Yakima’s city legal team of Jeff Cutter and Mark Kunkler.  Well done gentlemen.

David McNew/Getty Images

When the council voted 4 to 3 to proceed with a ban to honor the wishes of the majority of Yakima voters it was a risk.  We didn’t know if we would be sued by the state or by pro-pot activists.  We didn’t know if we would have a legal argument as cover.  But we took the risk and voted for the ban.  Yesterday the planning commission agreed that we had the right and today the AG agreed as well.

It doesn’t mean we won’t be sued by some aggressive pot entrepreneurs but it does limit the likelihood of such an action.

One more time, from my perspective-- 56% of Yakima City Voters voted No.  We are not on a personal weed witch hunt.  We are not interested in banning all intoxicants.  We aren’t concerned with which drug is worse.  We can’t and don’t want to prosecute home users.

For the first time in forever, the local majority vote in Yakima has a legal “loophole” if you will, to step through to challenge the decision forced on the state with weight of the big city west side liberal vote.  It doesn’t apply to any other issue.  Not to Alcohol, Same Sex marriage, Guns, whatever…simply put the city has the superior right to control land use and the policy on the books says that the city will NOT license any activity that is against city, state or federal law.   Despite what the justice department might say for now about foregoing enforcement, marijuana is against federal law.  End of Story.

When the federal government finally takes responsibility and sets a policy it will live with we’ll all have firmer footing.  Either decriminalize marijuana or enforce the laws on the books but quit creating uncertainty and the dual legal reality for residents in Washington and Colorado.