Creston Rogerson and Mary Hansen, owners/operators of LaGranja Farms LLC, have been engaged in a year long battle, fighting Walla Walla County from shutting down their legal marijuana grow operation after banning 502 operations. The county is forcing the operator to pay thousands of dollars in CRIMINAL penalties for violating a LAND-USE violation.
What does this mean for producer-processors across the state if LaGranja Farms loses this battle? It means counties can CRIMINALIZE legal recreational operators for ‘operational, non-compliance” (a legal land-use term), even after the LCB issues a license.
Patrick Moberg, attorney for LaGranja, which is suing Walla Walla County, recently defended an attempt from the Attorney General to intervene in the lawsuit. Mr. Moberg also filed a motion to add the LCB as a plaintiff in the La Granja lawsuit. The AG responded to the motion with the claim that the LCB supports Walla Walla County’s local ban. Walla Walla County’s ban includes criminal penalties making the production and sale of state-licensed marijuana a gross misdemeanor punishable with up to 90 days in jail as well as civil penalties assessed at $250 per day. Therefore, according to the Attorney General, the LCB actually supports the re-criminalization of marijuana. Mr. Moberg does not believe that the LCB supports the AG’s position or the Walla Walla ban, and sees the Attorney Generals response as an attempt to hide a direct conflict between the LCB’s position and the AG’s opinion that local laws preempt state laws. The problem is that the LCB has remained curiously silent on this issue. Mr. Moberg is forcing the LCB to go on the record with a position on the AG’s opinion.