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AGO 1955 No. 79 - May 24, 1955
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

COMMISSION MERCHANTS ACT ‑- PERSON EXCLUDED FROM THE PROVISIONS THEREOF

A warehouse licensed under the grain warehouse laws, which buys and sells grain must be licensed under the Commission Merchants Act.

Cooperative marketing associations organized under 23.56 or 24.32 RCW are excluded from and need not be licensed under the Commission Merchants Act.

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                                                                   May 24, 1955

Honorable W. C. Raugust
State Senator, 8th District
Odessa, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 79


Dear Sir:

            In your letter of May 7, 1955, previously acknowledged, you have requested our opinion as to (1) whether a firm operating a licensed grain warehouse would also need to be licensed under the Commission Merchants Act if the firm buys and sells grain in addition to its activities as a storage warehouse, and, (2) whether the provisions of the Commission Merchants Act exempt cooperative marketing associations.

            (1) In our opinion a licensed grain warehouse which also buys and sells grain must be licensed under the Commission Merchants Act either as a commission merchant and credit buyer, or as a cash buyer, dependent upon the nature of its operations.

            (2) Cooperative marketing associations incorporated under chapter 19, Laws of 1913, or chapter 115, Laws of 1921, as amended, are specifically exempt from the provisions of the Commission Merchants Act.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]                       ANALYSIS

            RCW 20.04.120, as amended by chapter 14 and 262, Laws of 1955, provides that the Commission Merchants Act shall not apply to:

            (1) "* * * cooperative marketing associations incorporated under chapter 19 of the session laws of 1913, as amended (chapter 23.56 RCW), or under chapter 115 of the session laws of 1921, as amended (chapter 24.32 RCW)"

            (2) "* * * any warehouseman or grain dealer licenses under the state grain warehouse actswith respect to his operations as such licensee;  * * *" (Emphasis ours)

            To determine what operations are licensed under the Grain Warehouse Act we find that the legislature has defined grain warehouse in RCW 22.08.010, as follows:

            "'Grain warehouse,' includes any elevator, mill, warehouse, public grain warehouse, public warehouse, or other structure in which grain or other commodities are received from the public for storage, shipment or handling;"  (Emphasis ours)

            We conclude that the buying and selling of grain are operations outside the scope of a license granted for the purpose of receiving grain for storage, shipment or handling, and as such are operations which require a license under the provisions of the Commission Merchants Act.

            If the legislature had intended to grant licensed grain warehousemen complete exclusion from the provisions of the Commission Merchants Act, it would not have added the qualifying phrase "with respect to his operations as such licensee."  To ignore this qualifying language would clearly thwart the expressed intention of the legislature to exclude grain warehousemen only to the extent of their operations as a licensed warehouseman for the purposes defined in the Act.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            In answer to your second question, we find that cooperative marketing associations are expressly excluded from the provisions of the Commission Merchants Act.  The legislature has not qualified this exclusion in any manner whatsoever, as it has done in the case of grain warehouses and other exclusions under the Act.

            We hope that the foregoing analysis will prove helpful in clarifying the conflict as to persons excluded under the Commission Merchants Act.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


JOHN J. CHAMPAGNE
Assistant Attorney General

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