Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Welcome from Attorney General Bob Ferguson


Dear Friends,

This month, I have several important updates to share with you.  My office successfully defended the will of the voters in a recent legal challenge to the state's marijuana legalization law, and we prosecuted a case to protect our environment.  We also continue our work to raise awareness around the tragic plight of immigrant children facing deportation.  Here in Washington and across the country, immigrant children end up alone in the courtroom, forced to defend themselves in complex deportation hearings.

Read more about these and other issues below. As always, please contact me with your questions, thoughts or concerns.


Bob Ferguson
Washington State Attorney General


Latest news on I-502502

Pierce County judge agrees with AGO – Local governments can regulate pot businesses

My office successfully defended the will of the voters against a legal challenge to the state’s marijuana law.  The case involved the City of Fife’s ban on marijuana businesses.  The plaintiff sought to open a marijuana store in Fife and sued the city, challenging the ban.  In defending its zoning authority, the city argued that if the ban is not allowed, I-502 is preempted by federal law.  A court ruling to this effect would eviscerate I-502.

The AGO did not represent either party, but intervened in the case to defend I-502 and uphold the will of voters.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper agreed with my Solicitor General, Noah Purcell.  In upholding the ban, Culpepper cleared the way for the continuing implementation of I-502.  The case will be appealed.  

This News Tribune opinion provides more background and details on this issue.

Justice for children facing deportation

AG wants full legal protection for immigrant children in deportation hearings

Unaccompanied immigrant children should not be forced to represent themselves in complex deportation hearings. My office has filed a “friend of the court” brief in U.S. District Court supporting efforts to ensure children in Washington state who face deportation have an attorney by their side.

According to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) Immigration, 41% of unaccompanied children in Washington state who have lawyers are granted protection from deportation, but only 4% without lawyers are allowed to remain.  I am examining ways to address the legal needs of these children with pro bono lawyers. 

Everett Herald
Justice for child immigrants

Spokesman Review
Editorial: Immigrant children deserve full rule, protection of law

State’s first derelict vessel conviction

Environmental criminals beware – AG’s office won’t tolerate pollution of state watersForus

Assistant Attorney General Josh Choate recently won the state’s first derelict vessel conviction.   Prosecuting environmental crimes is a top priority of my administration.  Because of the high costs and damages associated with derelict vessels, we are taking an aggressive legal stance against those who abandon their boats in state waters. 

In July 2013, Brandon Traner abandoned his fishing trawler “M/V Forus” when it sank in the Columbia River.  The vessel discharged fuel and oil, and its masts threatened the safety of barges and other ships passing through the navigation channel.  Traner was sentenced to 20 days in jail and ordered to pay the state $144,000 in restitution.  Cleanup and recovery cost taxpayers more than $100,000.

Seattle Times
Owners of derelict vessels hit with criminal charges

Sunken boat owner going to jail

Reaching out to communities in Washington

In the last month, I have been honored to attend and participate in numerous meetings and events across the state of Washington. These statewide activities included:Scam Jam

  • Law enforcement roundtable hosted by Kennewick Police Department
  • Meeting with Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Executives
  • Tri-City Herald and Daily World Ed Boards
  • Richland, Columbia Valley Daybreak, Grays Harbor, Hoquiam and Spokane Rotaries, and Pasco Kiwanis Club
  • Benton County Drug Court
  • AARP Scam Jams in Kennewick and Spokane