[3/25/22] Okanogan County Responds To Cannabis Grower’s Lawsuit

Posted in Local Government & Meetings

An Omak cannabis grower that sued Okanogan County over a requirement to meet with the county to show its license and a detailed site plan is not entitled to an injunction because it hasn’t shown any harm and hasn’t pursued other avenues for redress, according to the county’s reply to the January lawsuit filed by Ladyhelm Farm.

Ladyhelm Farm contends that requirements in the ordinance adopted last year by the Okanogan County commissioners violate its Constitutional rights.

The commissioners said the ordinance was necessary to clarify discrepancies in state and county records.  The State Liquor and Cannabis Board had issued about 125 licenses for cannabis grows in Okanogan County, some at non-existent addresses, whereas the county had issued only 85 permits to growers, according to the county’s reply.

The ordinance set a deadline for these meetings, which was subsequently extended.  While Ladyhelm Farm didn’t meet with the county, Attorney Quinn Plant wrote for the county that the farm suffered no consequences.

Moreover, Plant wrote that Ladyhelm had a “plain, complete, speedy and adequate remedy” through other state law.  If the county revoked its permit, Ladyhelm Farm could appeal.

Ladyhelm Farm asserts that the county already has all the information it needs.  But the county says that some growers have letters and documents that are not in the Planning Department’s files, many of which would have been created under the county’s former planning director.

The county’s attorneys also rejected Ladyhelm Farm’s other Constitutional argument — namely, that being asked to meet with the county and produce documents violates their Fifth-amendment protection against self-incrimination.

Ladyhelm Farm sued the county, the three county commissioners, and the planning director.  The reply asserts that none of those individuals was properly served with a summons and a copy of the complaint.

A hearing scheduled in the case in early March was stricken from the court calendar.  No other hearings have been scheduled.