Attention: Cannabis Businesses in Unincorporated Yakima County
ACTION REQUIRED BY MARCH 1, 2019
In late November, letters were mailed to operators of businesses engaged in the production, processing and/or retail sale of marijuana and/or marijuana-infused products located in unincorporated areas of Yakima County. The letter cited that the operation of each business in unincorporated Yakima County is prohibited by and in violation of, Yakima County Code § 19.30.030(7) and each such business also constitutes a public nuisance that is subject to abatement under County ordinances and Washington state law.
What Does This Mean?
- Your business is at risk — Yakima County is in the process of enforcing its ban on marijuana businesses and is taking steps to abate the public nuisances those businesses present. To date, the County has started two lawsuits against operators of marijuana businesses and has obtained successful results in each of those cases.
- Each business that received a Cease and Desist letter must fully and completely cease and desist operation of any and all marijuana businesses within unincorporated areas of Yakima County before March 1, 2019.
- Yakima County will refrain from initiating any new legal action against any marijuana business currently operating in unincorporated areas of the County prior to this date. After March 1, 2019, the County will resume enforcement of its prohibition on marijuana businesses and legal action may be brought against any and all marijuana businesses still operating in unincorporated areas of Yakima County.
If you operate a marijuana business in unincorporated Yakima County, you are strongly encouraged to take the following actions:
- Contact legal counsel immediately — You only have until March 1, 2019, to comply with the Code or set yourself to challenge enforcement through legal channels. If you plan to move, the WSLCB process is very lengthy and a March 1 deadline will be nearly impossible to meet. You will need an extension from the County or a hardship from the WSLCB.
- Review the Cease and Desist Letter sent to you and provide it to your legal counsel. It must be given urgent and careful attention. This letter was mailed at the end of November via regular U.S.P.S. mail; it was not sent via certified mail.
- If you do not currently have legal counsel — contact the Cannabis Team at JDSA Law who has years of experience negotiating successful marijuana transactions. We are committed to helping you and your business through this challenging time.