Appeals court upholds closure of Malaga cannabis site

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Marijuana laws

SPOKANE — The state Court of Appeals says Chelan County was within its rights to shut down a Malaga cannabis operation in 2017.

The higher court upheld the closure of Seven Hills farm in a unanimous ruling today. Seven Hills sought to show it was an established cannabis operation before the county placed a moratorium on such businesses in 2015, and outlawed most of them a year later.

Chelan County ordered the business closed in March 2017, citing the county’s ban on such businesses as well as building code violations, for unpermitted structures and for propane tanks Seven Hills had installed to warm its tented growing operation, without approval from county inspectors.

In its ruling, the appeals court said Seven Hills did not obtain a state license to produce marijuana until January 2016, after the county’s moratorium. As a result, Appellate Judge Kevin Korsmo wrote for the three-judge panel, Seven Hills cannot be grandfathered in as a pre-existing business.

“The preparation to farm a location is not the same act as growing a crop,” Korsmo wrote. “Seven Hills could not use, and actually was not using, its location to produce marijuana prior to the initial moratorium. Accordingly, the hearing examiner and the superior court did not err in upholding the notices of violation.”