I wrote on April 28th about the oral argument in the United States Supreme Court concerning a warrantless search of cell phones. Today, the court decides that people's privacy interests in their cell phones are worthy of protection under the Fourth Amendment, unless the police obtain a warrant to search them.
Clark County's two remaining commissioners approved a total moratorium on any marijuana businesses, including retail, growing or processing, in unincorporated areas of the county. The ordinance is like one passed by Pierce County after the state attorney general gave a formal opinion that local governments could regulate marijuana businesses to the extent of totally banning them despite the state law allowing them.
Tomorrow, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument in two related cases, Riley v. California, and United States v. Wurie , that will decide an issue of vital importance to anyone who owns a cell phone who values their privacy. The court will decide whether the police can both seize a cell phone when its owner is arrested, and search its contents, all without seeking a search warrant.
In the wake of news that the first recreational marijuana licenses had been granted, and before the upcoming lottery for retail licenses, come two important Court of Appeals decisions interpreting the medical marijuana laws (MUCA, short for Medical Use of Cannabis Act, RCW 69.51A).
In the age of Facebook, where people post the most interesting (and potentially embarrassing) things about themselves, are people really concerned about their right to privacy? In Washington, our state constitution has a very explicit protection of the right to privacy:
Few Washington homeowners would be brave enough to question the authority of the police to enter their home when the police come with an arrest warrant to search for a family member who used to live in the house. As the Grateful Dead once sang in "Truckin":
Last December, in Initiative 502, Washington voters decided to de-criminalize the possession of marijuana in small amounts by adults. The new law set up three categories of businesses to begin a legal market for the purchase of marijuana in Washington. The state Liquor Control Board was given the task of drafting rules for marijuana related businesses. In October, the LCB recently made its rules public. Cities and counties in Washington are now debating what kinds of zoning restrictions there will be for these new businesses.
A primer on the "Standard Drink"
Washington's legalization of marijuana for adults (I-502) and the attempt to establish a legal market is attracting national attention. According to recent press reports, more than 300 applications have already been received by the Liquor Control Board, the state agency charged with responsibility for licensing growers, producers, and retailers. If the number of applications for retail establishments exceeds the allowed number of licenses, there will be a lottery for the retail licenses.