More to come later, but we wanted to get a quick link up to bring attention a lawsuit filed in Federal Court a few weeks ago by Christopher King and John Novak vs the Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board, Governor, State AG, US AG and ONDCP over the problems with the toxicity within the agency and ultra vires activity (acting or done beyond one’s legal power or authority).
Auburn, WA: While the nation roils over the treatment of black people by law enforcement, a case last month shows the struggles faced daily by the community beyond the misuse of deadly force.
On May 15, 2020, Black Excellence in Cannabis member and co-founder Peter Manning’s box truck was struck in a hit and run accident.
While in traffic along SW Campus Drive around the 200 block in Federal Way, he heard a siren and saw lights in the rear view mirror to see an Auburn SWAT Police van racing up, so he tried to pull forward to the right to get out of the way.
Unfortunately, he was unable to get all the way over, and the van struck his truck in the back, then sideswiped it and raced off, basically a felony hit and run by the officer in the police van.
Manning went on to tell 420leaks that he tried unsuccessfully to report the incident to the Federal Way Police dept, the town where the accident with the Auburn PD Van.
“I went and tried to file a complaint, but the clerk refused to believe me. She said there was no way a cop would do that.”
At his insistence, he filed a report anyway.
He then tried to get help from a local attorney who refused to look into it, basically stating the same as the clerk at the Federal Way Police Dept. He doubted Mr. Manning as well.
However, the report Manning gave appears to have disappeared, and the file created for the incident shows that no further investigation appears imminent. Case closed.
Mr. Manning then contacted the news media and was given the same response as the clerk at the Federal Way police station and by the attorney. In other words, nobody would believe a cop would run after hitting his vehicle.
420leaks has learned through a public records request to the Auburn Police Department that not only did the incident in question take place, but fault is is admitted to by the officers after the fact.
We can only imagine what would have happened to Mr. Manning if the roles were reversed and it was him who struck the police van. No expenses would have been spared to track him down and bring him into custody, even if it meant the use of deadly force.
It now appears the Federal Way PD declined to investigate or prosecute and instead handed it back to the Auburn PD to investigate themselves.
While the accident may have been understandable since the officer was on his way to a domestic dispute call, the behavior by authorities and the treatment of Mr. Manning after the fact shows that not only do the police have to change their culture, the attorneys representing victims of police abuse must change as well. The press as well.
We will continue to update this story and hope Mr. Manning gets fair compensation for his damages.
John Novak contributed to this story
Black Entrepreneurs File Federal Lawsuit Against U.S. Attorney General For Discrimination in the Cannabis Industry
In Washington State, our Liquor & Cannabis Board (WSLCB) has developed policy to tap into people’s cellphones instead of just calling them up over regulatory compliance issues.
311.3.1 RESTRICTIONS ON CELL SITE SIMULATOR USE “An LCB Enforcement Officer may only install or use a pen register, trap and trace device or cell site simulator device with a supporting court order or when there is both coordination with a prosecuting attorney and joint determination of probable cause to believe an emergency situation exists that involves immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury to a person. A court order must be obtained within 48 hours after installation of the pen register, trap and trace device or cell site stimulator device when an emergency situation exists (RCW 9.73.260)”
Seattle, WA — Members of a group called Black Excellence In Cannabis filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month against Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) for what they see as state officials running a corrupt and discriminatory licensing and regulatory scheme in the guise of a legal recreational cannabis industry.U.S. Attorney General, William Barr is also included as a defendant, as the U.S. federal government has been acting as an accessory by funding Washington State to enforce federal laws while regulators operate and profit from an illicit licensing and taxation racket at the expense of African Americans’ Constitutional Rights.
Constitutionally protected Civil Rights at the center of this suit are; Title 42 US Code § 1981, 1983 and 1985.
Plaintiffs Aaron Barfield and Peter Manning are turning to the U.S. federal courts for justice after years of working for inclusion for African Americans in their state’s lucrative recreational cannabis market.
They have pled their case in administrative proceedings, meetings with WSLCB Executive Director Rick Garza and Board Members Jane Rushford, Ollie Garrett and Russ Hauge. Also, in meetings with multiple public officials and state legislators, at public hearings and finally granted an audience to plead their case directly to Governor Jay Inslee. All to no avail.
“What we have in Washington is a system where wealthy white men have performed a hostile takeover of our State’s entire cannabis market,” said Manning.
Minorities and Medical Cannabis activists who are on the frontlines of the fight for cannabis legalization are almost entirely excluded from the legal market.
“Washington has a strong and diverse cannabis community. Participation in the economic opportunities generated by the regulation and sale of cannabis should be inclusive and reflective of that community,” said Barfield, who also acts as the current director of Black Excellence In Cannabis.
Blacks were arrested at four times the rate of whites for cannabis violations yet only own and operate less than 1% of Washington’s licensed cannabis businesses.
Many may be inclined to believe that the Plaintiffs are just disgruntled failed applicants who were unable to transition from the unregulated world of medical cannabis providers, to the regulated, WSLCB, seed-to-sale traceability system and meet their compliance requirements.
Our group here has been the lead on this issue, but in 2018, my health started to deteriorate and was unable to continue the push as directly in Olympia. A new group came around and took the lead. They asked me to participate, so I helped write the policy on the majority of the new language, especially the legal protections for the grower in the latest draft.
Unfortunately, the one key policy that we were pushing for, a change to the drug forfeiture section, was not added to the final draft, despite my clear protests and documented research on this.
So now I will tell you all the same thing I told the last group that asked for my help writing it. Hopefully this will make sense to you all.
The bill is HB 1131 and it has a companion bill in the Senate, SB 5155. It was first introduced during the 2019 session and now carried over to 2020. The flaw is in Section 2 of the bill, specfically at the end of page 6 and beginning of page 7. (see image below)
Fix the entrapment scheme flaw in the forfeiture section at RCW 69.50.505(1)(h)(iii) by raising the commercial limits. 5 plants triggers forfeitures in that paragraph as it is a commercial amount. If you say I can have 6 plants or up to 15 per household, raise the limit from 5 in the forfeiture section as well to reflect that, plus the harvest yield amount!
Here is what current law looks like now…
(iii) The possession of marijuana shall not result in the forfeiture of real property unless the marijuana is possessed for commercial purposes that are unlawful under Washington state law, the amount possessed is five or more plants or one pound or more of marijuana, and a substantial nexus exists between the possession of marijuana and the real property.
And here is what this bill section amending this part of the forfeiture language looks like. The underlined words are what will be added to the statute by this bill if it passed, and the blue highlighted part is the area of concern:
Better minds than mine asked for raising the limits first.
These numbers should have changed when patients were allowed to grow their 60 day supply starting in 1998, again in 2007-2008 when that supply was further defined as 15 plants/24 ounces. It is antiquated, outdated, completely arbitrary to begin with as you can read for yourself from the files we obtained on it at the state archives! They just pulled a number out of their asses and called it good, just like they do with all these plant counts.
So as you can see in the bill’s version, they left the old numbers of “5 plants and a pound or more” in, but added an exception to the end.
The problem is, the old numbers of 5 plants or a pound or more were originally intended to be a PERSONAL AMOUNT too small for law enforcement to worry about diversion to the black market.
So if those old numbers represent a personal amount, then what will those old numbers represent after the bill is passed? Who are these people that will be able to have 4 plants or less than a pound since there is now a clear distinction in this language that will be left behind. Now all a cop needs is an excuse to say your plants were being used in COMMERCIAL ACTIVTY and they can begin seizing it when you exceed 5 or more. Why? Because they don’t need probable cause to do forfeitures! They ignore your “exception” or “exemption from a crime”, so now your plants & stash are CRIMINAL because you had 5 or more!
A much simpler and easier fix is to RAISE THE NUMBERS so commercial amounts are OVER the personal limit. In other words, if you raise the number from 5 plants as the commercial limit to 20 plants, now not only are homegrowers growing less than the commercial limit, but so will the patient community since they can have no more than 15 plants. No extra exemption or exception required! Potential for abuse is dramatically less as long as people do not exceed the commercial limits!
Forfeiture is what they use to come into your home. They find marijuana. Marijuana is an illegal substance. They do not need to prove guilt to seize it. They do not have to arrest you to seize it.
Once that is in their possession, then they start looking to see if arresting YOU is worth their time. Your arrest and prosecution comes after grabbing your assets. So now because of your commercial exemption, the person OVER the forfeiture trigger now has to PROVE they are NOT commercial. Totally different than innocent until proven guilty. Even the labeling requirement on harvests in the bill can potentially be used to infer commercial activity!
Forfeiture is the legal process against your property that ends up in civil court. State cops get cross deputized and can then seize property for the feds, then get back most of it through forfeiture sharing.
Arrest and prosecution is the legal process against you. That happens in criminal court if they decide to press charges.
The homegrow bill touches both of those very different processes. By ignoring one, we are just doing a half-assed job that will be even harder to fix next time.
Meanwhile people will get raided so a whole new precedence can be established. Each county having to create new precedence for their jurisdiction.
So because the homegrow bill is supposed to allow for adults to grow up to 6 plants for personal use, or no more than 15 per housing unit, that means any amounts OVER the forfeiture limit is considered a COMMERCIAL AMOUNT. So instead of raising the numbers in the forfeiture so anyone below would be innocent until proven guilty, they instead gave a COMMERCIAL EXEMPTION, which means you have to prove you are noncommercial! And since forfeitures in Washington State do not require a conviction, they do not need probable cause to seize your plants since you are over the forfeiture amount!
Commercial and noncommercial grows are two different animals. You cannot use a commercial exemption for a noncommercial activity or there will be major issues to personal rights and privacy.
Instead of clarifying the language, the bill created more confusion and will be setting up people who do not understand the law to grow MORE than the noncommercial amounts. 6 plants is more than 5, which is the trigger. 15 per housing unit is obviously way over. Massive potential for abuse here. Every defense attorney, every legislator I talk with can see the abuse potential.
They use this flaw on patients as well. Having 10 plants put the patient’s grow in the commercial amount of “5 or more plants” in the forfeiture section! In fact, this is why patients who do not register are only allowed to have 4 plants, whereas patients requiring more need to get registered. Why? Because 5 or more plants is a commercial amount!
If this passes as is, 4 plants or less than a pound is STILL the personal noncommercial limit.
Pretty simple fix here. As we learned from the past, pass it now, fix it later does not seem to be working for consumers and homegrowers! Especially the minority communities, who will be hit the hardest if this abuse potential continues!
The hard fix is, of course, removing cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act in both state and federal law and remove the criminal penalties on it. But until then, these fine points are critical!
RCW 66.28.140 Removing family beer or wine from home for use at wine tastings or competitions—Conditions. (1) An adult member of a household may remove family beer or wine from the home subject to the following conditions: (a) The quantity removed by a producer is limited to a quantity not exceeding twenty gallons; (b) Family beer or wine is not removed for sale; and (c) Family beer or wine is removed from the home for private use, including use at organized affairs, exhibitions, or competitions such as homemaker’s contests, tastings, or judging. (2) As used in this section, “family beer or wine” means beer or wine manufactured in the home for private consumption, and not for sale.
So why won’t the state just remove it from the state controlled substances act and be done with it? Because they don’t want to lose the federal grant money the state is contracted into if our state’s scheduled drugs to be dramatically different than the federal!
(j) Nothing in this subsection (7) prevents or restricts a property owner from prohibiting the cultivation of plants by a renter or lessee upon or within the property under the terms of a rental agreement, lease, or other contract.
She also correctly points out that it will be the minority communities who could once again be left out of “legalization” and end up a target in spite of the whole legalization process.
Our group doesn’t care who leads the next homegrow bill effort here in Washington State. We don’t care who you align with. You don’t have to like us. We are not out for an ego boost.
Let’s work to fix the flaws in this bill now. We’ve worked this since 2015 to get this far. Patients will tell you that a “pass it now, fix it later” approach has never worked for us, so let’s not screw this one up when it is not necessary.
You all remember the Collective Garden model that lasted until the laws were changed again in 2016? That was modeled after my noncommercial garden! They only become storefronts because the governor vetoed the commercial model out of the bill, leaving the noncommercial garden model as their only way to survive. Then legislators twisted my collective garden down to 4 patients that must be registered and part of the commercial regulated system, called “Cooperative Gardens” where all patients MUST provide labor to participate. Wheelchair bound? Tough shit, GET TO WORK IF YOU WANT RELIEF.
“The state law helped clarify my situation a lot. They said a patient can be a provider,” Novak said after the dismissal.
Two years ago, a drug task force raided his Wauconda home and confiscated 59 marijuana plants, and Novak was later charged with manufacturing marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Novak had a medical marijuana card authorizing him to use the drug to reduce the occurrences of seizures from temporal lobe epilepsy.
He said at the time that two other medical marijuana patients were also living at his residence, and he was growing marijuana for a fourth patient, allowing him up to 60 plants, or 15 plants each.
But Prosecutor Karl Sloan disputed his contention that a medical marijuana patient could grow marijuana for themselves and other patients.
The law itself was unclear, and Sloan agreed to continue the case while the Legislature considered several bills.
Last year the Legislature clarified the law, which now says that patients can also be designated providers, and can participate in collective gardens to provide medical marijuana for up to 10 patients.
Tue, 03 Jul 2012 Source: Wenatchee World, The (WA)
Here are the last two public hearings on this bill: