The Washington State Court of Appeals just held that medical marijuana activity (even patient cultivation in the home) is illegal under current State law.
The long road to this disappointing decision began a couple of years ago when an access point (essentially a medical outlet formed by medical marijuana patients) and an advocacy group sued the city of Kent in an effort to block the city from implementing a zoning ordinance that would essentially prohibit collective gardens, both commercial and home grows. The case made its way through King County Superior Court (which upheld Kent’s ban) and eventually reached the Washington State Supreme Court. The Supreme Court issued an emergency stay of the Kent ban but ultimately decided to send it back down to the Court of Appeals for a full decision on the merits.
The Court of Appeals’ 26-page decision in the case has sent shockwaves through the medical marijuana community statewide, though the media has barely covered it.
The Court of Appeals not only upheld the City of Kent’s ban, it also ruled that operating a medical marijuana collective garden or access point constitutes criminal activity. We fully expect city attorneys in those cities opposed to cannabis will use this Court of Appeals decision to shut down or prevent collective gardens and access points.
We feel for our friends involved with medical cannabis in Washington State. We do not read this Court of Appeals decision as having any impact on recreational marijuana in Washington.