AG says cities, counties can block pot businesses from operating

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OLYMPIA, Wash. —

 The state Attorney General said cities and counties can block licensed marijuana businesses from operating.    

Bob Ferguson said the state's marijuana law gives local governments the option for moratoriums or bans on pot shops, grow operations and processing facilities.

The liquor control board asked for the AG's opinion over concerns that local bans could restrict access to legal marijuana.

 Some jurisdictions, including unincorporated Pierce County, Lakewood and Wenatchee, have effective bans on pot businesses, because their local ordinances require businesses to follow state, federal and local law. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Nearly three dozen of the state's 75 biggest cities, from Redmond to Pullman, have adopted moratoriums of up to a year on marijuana businesses.

 There are also questions about whether bans would make it more difficult to move marijuana users away from the black market.