Standoff between new pot shop and Pierce County: Store owners refuse to close despite order

PARKLAND, Wash. -- Pierce County on Thursday ordered a marijuana retail store in Parkland to shut down, less than week after its grand opening.

The marijuana store owners say they are not budging despite getting slapped with a notice from the county ordering them to immediately close the business.

“Politics is an amazing game,” said Tedd Wetherbee, co-owner of the store, The Gallery.

The owners have a state license to sell pot, but the problem is at the county level. In 2013, county leaders voted to ban pot shops in unincorporated Pierce County despite the legalization of marijuana. So businesses can apply for a permit but the county can’t process them.

“Individual jurisdictions, cities, towns and counties can make individual choices on whether they want to welcome that business,” said Steve Wamback, administrator of Pierce County Public Works and Utilities.

“While we can accept conditional permit application, our planning department can’t actually issue it until the federal government takes actions to make marijuana legal,” Wamback said.

“The attorney general said the federal argument in Washington state holds no water,” Wetherbee said.

Hours after getting the county's cease-and-desist order, customers were still going in and out of The Gallery.

The business right next to store tells Q13 FOX News the marijuana store has every right to be on the strip as much as they do. Wetherbee says many in the community are encouraging them to stand their ground.

“Please stay, fight the good fight and that’s what we are doing. We love Pierce County, we love Parkland,” Wetherbee said.

The Gallery could be fined up to $1,000 per day but the owners say they will still not shut down. The drama will most likely end up in court. The pot store has 14 days to appeal.