Yakima County takes aim at certain pot businesses

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YAKIMA — Yakima County Commissioners Tuesday morning took another step in their efforts to shut down marijuana businesses operating in unincorporated areas of the county despite a ban.

Commissioners approved a 2018 operating budget that includes a $200,000 infusion into the county’s code enforcement office, which would be in charge of enforcing the county’s ban on recreational marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas.

Now pot businesses currently operating despite the ban are ramping up their forces in an effort to fight the county in court before any action is taken to shut them down, said cannabis consultant Jeffrey McPhee.

“I guess it’s kind of set in stone now that we’re going to be in a battle with the county,” said McPhee, owner of Tetra-Max Global, which offers consulting to cannabis businesses across the region. “Our company, along with all the other (cannabis) companies have secured legal counsel and are prepared to fight the county.”

There are 28 cannabis businesses, mostly producers and processors, operating in unincorporated areas of the county despite the ban.

Those businesses are providing hundreds of jobs, McPhee said.

A ban on recreational marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas has been in place for two years.