background_fid.jpg
Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Government and Politics
In 2012, Washington and Colorado voters made history when they approved measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Washington Initiative 502 “authorizes the state liquor board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age or older.”Since the vote in Washington, the Liquor Board has written a complex set of rules for the state’s new, legal recreational cannabis marketplace. The agency has also set limits on the amount of marijuana that can be grown. And the Board has begun to license growers, processors and retailers.For now, the Obama administration has signaled it will not interfere with Washington and Colorado’s legal pot experiment, unless there is evidence that legal pot is “leaking” to other states or children are getting access to the legal product. The feds are also watching to see if criminal organizations exploit the legal market.The first marijuana retail stores in Washington opened in July 2014.Recreational marijuana is also set to become legal in Oregon on July 1, 2015 after voters approved Measure 91 in November 2014.

Eastern Washington Town Hires Special Counsel To Prosecute Pot Shop Owners

Clarkstonpotshop.jpg
Olivia Weitz
/
Northwest News Network
A sign in the window of a Clarkston, Washington, pot shop references the tension between the local vote approving recreational marijuana sales and the city council's decision to ban it.

Two marijuana shop owners in Clarkston, Washington, are facing criminal charges for selling pot in defiance of a citywide ban.

Clarkston is one of 64 towns in Washington state that bar the sale of recreational marijuana. But so far it’s the only one to charge violators with a misdemeanor. The two men, Kelly Jackson and Matt Plemmons, opened pot stores in town and now face possible jail time.

Clarkston City Councilmember Brian Kolstad is in the minority there when it comes to marijuana stores -- because he voted against banning them. This week, he was the only council member to speak against the charges.

“I find it astonishing that Clarkston is the only city in the great state of Washington to criminally prosecute two people for violating a business license ordinance with regards to I-502,” Kolstad said.

Washington voters approved the legal sale of recreational marijuana with Initiative 502. But the Clarkston city attorney said he'll continue to enforce the ban approved by the council.

Both marijuana stores are closed for now.