Archive for Editorials

The Hemp Files

420leaks Detective

Recently, we at 420leaks filed requests to the Washington State Department of Agriculture over their Industrial Hemp Research Program rule making files, and just last week they gave us a bunch of redacted documents from the Attorney General as part of it.

John Worthington’s copies:
https://app.box.com/s/oj2dlcjfjm0die4vz6lyn6614f0lwy3f

My copies:
https://app.box.com/s/q3vx429e9r83ix6ur3ajrk30eznp55lz

Worthington complained back, saying you can’t redact public rule making files. Their public records officer hemmed and hawed over attorney/client privilege.

So March 28, 2017, Worthington filed a lawsuit against WSDA and had their office served at 2:00 pm.

Thirty-seven minutes later, they emailed us the files with no redactions.

Sent to Worthington:
https://app.box.com/s/phx9u89ocfxq9jcavlp4ktnpcculxrh8

Sent to me:
https://app.box.com/s/1hum7xwek4ggsdz3urjn8fm7dihfbcb7

I guess they figured the corruption was not worth risking their careers over this time.

Why is any of this significant?

Well, for one, it shows us the Department of Agriculture and the Attorney General Staff is not as corrupt as what happened during the I502 rule making and the WSLCB. We have also seen no hidden hand of the Governor’s office this time, unlike what we saw around I502.

However, the process revealed that our group of researchers had it right when we believed the Attorney General’s Office was at least in part responsible for running the rule making in our state. Not so much the state agency heads.

They do this under the guise of the attorney/client privilege, so they can redact it all from public view. We say the AG’s office is partly responsible because we now have two different people from their office with two very different results: one still intent on burning up taxpayer funds to keep their secrets with I502, and one that did the right thing when confronted with the evidence.

What appears to be certain is eliminating the files from the public rule making file is not legal. It completely violates what the spirit of the Public Records Acts stands for; that the people are sovereign and government does not get to decide what is good for us.

RCW 42.56.030
Construction.
“The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created. This chapter shall be liberally construed and its exemptions narrowly construed to promote this public policy and to assure that the public interest will be fully protected. In the event of conflict between the provisions of this chapter and any other act, the provisions of this chapter shall govern.”

This was why the state settled over a case to make one public records requester go away, back at the end of 2014, that made headlines for the amount of the payout: $192,000 by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. They stand to lose even more with the case filed against them by John Worthington over these same files, with the next hearing coming in early June.

But not this time. Bravo to the WSDA and AG’s office. We at 420leaks give them a gold star…on this one. For now.

Having said that, the agency gets a major reduction in gold stars for lack of privacy protections. Their Industrial Hemp program director, Emily Febles, apparently allowed a breach on at least three of their own employees, potentially exposing their social security numbers, including her own information. This story was learned about in one of our recent requests that came back around the same time as the rule making files. We asked them this question: Did you follow proper protocols and notify all the employees affected within the time required by law? It appears not.  See the email at
https://app.box.com/s/kft0eplpkz0m4v9d20mr4vm9qe8b5l21

Which leads us to the next question. Why are two well known activists in Washington State bitterly fighting to the point of threatening lawsuits against each other, all around a bill that would take industrial hemp out of the state Controlled Substances Act?
http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2064&Year=2017

The infighting has led to great confusion in the cannabis community and is a question that led us to asking for communications to the WSDA, one of which revealed the privacy breach. We hope to find answers and more as we go through these files, with more coming, from the WSDA.
https://app.box.com/s/pyao3j0y88ikfw445mgv

But it looks like a battle between those who fear federal interference by removing it from the State’s Controlled Substances Act, and those who feel the plant needs to be descheduled with few regulations. View the public hearing in the Senate Law & Justice Committee back on March 9th.

The bill passed with a unanimous YES vote in both houses of the legislature in spite of efforts to kill or amend the bill by the Washington State Dept of Agriculture and a few from the cannabis community.

WSLCB Messed Up Again on Exposing Unredacted Confidential Files, Sends Replacements

The story continues to get bigger.  We’ll have more on this soon. The press is running with the story now. So stay tuned. Here’s a copy of an email sent out by the WSLCB that was turned over to KOMO 4 News… 13427794_1236826573008481_3178158491560803771_n In the meantime, here’s the email with the direct link to the WSLCB account so you can get them firsthand from the agency until the link expires…

From: brittany.hale@lcb.wa.gov To: changingplanet@hotmail.com Subject: Re: WSLCB PRR 16-02-174 Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2016 17:27:01 +0000 Dear Mr. Novak: We have corrected the issue that we discussed over the phone Tuesday evening and are happy to provide you with a new link to the 1st Installment of records: https://lcb.box.com/s/qmdgze3hjgghv6xgleaaqbozucnhb7ds. This link will remain active for the next thirty days. Thank you again for your assistance in this matter. Please note that codes appear within the redactions on the records, and the basis for these exemptions is briefly explained as follows: Code Exemption Brief Explanatory Description Statutory Basis FinInfo Financial Account Numbers Liquor and Marijuana License Application Financial Information, including but not limited to account numbers and values, on liquor license and marijuana applications are exempt from disclosure RCW 42.56.230(5) and RCW 42.56.270 (10) (a) DriverLic# Driver’s License Numbers (5) Credit card numbers, debit card numbers, electronic check numbers, card expiration dates, or bank or other financial information as defined in RCW 9.35.005 including social security numbers, except when disclosure is expressly required by or governed by other law RCW 42.56.230(5) SS# Social Security Number Social Security Numbers are exempt from disclosure. RCW 42.56.510 and 42 USC Section 405(c) (2) (C) (viii) (1) TaxInfo Tax Information Tax information, such as Federal Tax ID Number, or other tax documents are exempt from public disclosure. RCW 82.32.330, RCW 42.56.230(5), and 26 U.S.C. 6103. Attorney-Client Privilege Attorney-Client Privilege An attorney or counselor shall not, without the consent of his or her client, be examined as to any communication made by the client to him or her, or his or her advice given thereon in the course of professional employment. RCW 5.60.060(2)(a) ComplaintID Complainant Identifying Information Complaint reports are redacted of all identifying information when the complainant requests a desire for nondisclosure RCW 42.56.240(2) … Thank you again. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Sincerely, Brittany Hale Forms and Records Analyst Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board 360-664-1732 Brittany.hale@lcb.wa.gov420leaks Detective

420leaks Co-Editor John Worthington on Public Access TV

Links to source documents and websites used in this interview coming soon. Until then, please read this. #420leaks

Worthington v. WestNET Saga part II – “Why I now fear for my life”

Worthington v. WestNET Saga part II

“Why I now fear for my life.”

When is “WestNET” a government agency liable under the “Open Public Meetings Act”, which is State Law, RCW 42.30, and obligated to full disclosure by the Washington State Public Records Act, RCW 42.56? Or, when is “WestNET” a NON ENTITY that isn’t subject to any Washington State law?

It seems Kitsap County’s Prosecutor, Ione George, claims WestNet is both an agency and a non-entity. In a lawsuit between John Worthington v WestNet for ‘WestNET’s” violation of state law, George claims WestNet is NOT a government agency and is exempt from law because it “doesn’t exist”. But then, according records obtained by John Worthington, it appears that WestNET “is a government agency” when it comes to receiving money, disbursing money, cashing checks and filing records with the Auditors Office and Treasure’s office.

“WestNET” is an acronym for the “West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team”, which comprises the Sheriffs offices of Kitsap, Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Mason County, the National Guard Counter Drug Task Force. Naval Criminal Investigative Services and Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Shelton, and Washington State Patrol.

When “WestNet” raided the home of a drug suspect and confiscated this suspect’s property, which included 1500 marijuana plants, they alleged they talked to an informant who stated a guy named Big John was the suspect’s partner. WestNET determined Big John was the 5-5 John Worthington and allegedly called in the DEA to go raid “Big John Worthington.”

Worthington’s soon discovered the DEA guy was actually a federally cross designated Washington State Patrolman who took his grow light and 6 medical marijuana plants. Worthington filed suit in the state court for the acts of a state employee that enabled law enforcement to bypass the state medical marijuana law. That case was removed to federal court where Worthington’s case was dismissed pursuant to CR 12 B 6 because Judge Robart ruled the DEA was immune from state marijuana laws and could take his plants and grow light.

It was during that case Worthington found out the DEA refused the case and asked WestNET to conduct the raid and take pictures for future prosecutorial consideration. Worthington tried in vain to convince Judge Robart that it was actually WestNET that raided him but the task forces were able to convince Judge Robart that Worthington’s documents of the WestNET acts were not authentic.

At that time John Worthington was an advocate for medical marijuana as he was awaiting hip replacement for his badly damage hips. Mr. Worthingtn advocate marijuana was an effective agent to moderate his pain. In his role as an advocate for the medical use of marijuana, John felt marijuana was a suitable alternative to prescription pharmaceuticals for controlling chronic pain that didn’t carry many of the undesirable side effects of the harsher prescription drugs.

This is where Ione George, Kitsap’s prosecutor enters the picture. Rather than admit there was no DEA raid and that WestNET actually raided him, George quarterbacked the effort to hide the truth so that the statute of limitations could expire on future legal claims by Worthington. This leaves Mr. Worthington with trying to find out who it was that decided to use WestNET to conduct a phony DEA raid well after the statute of limitations has expired.

So Mr. Worthington, in trying to find out who ordered the phony DEA raid, filed “public records requests” to see which of the “entities of this Non entity” were involved . Ione George argued that Mr. Worthington’s public records request must be dismissed as it is directed to “WestNet” which is a “non-entity” and not subject to the laws. The trial court and the Washington State Court of Appeals agreed.  Mr. Worthington appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Mr. Worthington and against this “shell game” being played by Ione George and remanded the case back to Kitsap County Superior court. During the Supreme Court briefing George and the Kitsap County Prosecutor argued WestNET did not conduct seizure forfeiture activity.

On remand the Trial court ruled against Worthington and ruled WestNET was actually Kitsap County and under the umbrella of the Kitsap County Sherrif’s office. Worthington filed a motion to reconsider and submitted numerous court appearances by WestNET and also produced some checks written to WestNET.

The Counsel for WestNET filed a motion acknowledging the sanction able gaff to the Supreme Court regarding WestNET seizure forfeiture activity and the Kitsap County Superior court Judge Melissa Hemstreet ordered a hearing.  Worthington submitted a document trail showing over 300 checks were written to WestNET , then deposited into the WestNET fund. Worthington has also discovered affidavits for search warrants, notice of intents to seize and other judicial and quasi judicial paperwork was also filed in the name of WestNET. Ione George claimed the 12 years of WestNET   seizure activity was the result of scrivener’s errors.

Mr. Worthington is now asking the Kitsap County Superior court, via a declaratory judgment action, to determine if WestNet is a government agency or a Non -Entity.  If the court decides that WestNET is not a legal entity then, they would have to return all the property and cash they confiscated from thousands of people since 1998.

What this means is that now there are serious criminal implications for the acts of WestNET in criminal seizure and forfeiture the last 12 years, which also involve three or more court venues who required defendants to pay them WestNET related fines and fees, which they forwarded on to WestNET after they took their cut. This  case has Rico Act, bank fraud, mail fraud, forgery, criminal impersonation, racketeering, money laundering, official misconduct, obtaining a signature by deception and perjury implications.

What this also means is that public officials may have to go to jail, towns and counties may go broke after they pay back these ill-gotten gains obtained in their role as a non-legal since 1998.

How would you feel if you were in Mr. Worthington’s shoes. If ever there was a whistleblower situation this is it.

 

 

Medical Cannabis Patients Gather to Support Compassionate Use Laws

Medical Cannabis Patients Gather to Support Compassionate Use Laws
By Sarah Wood
Staff reporter – The Viper’s Club
For immediate release
Contact: thevipersclub@gmail.com

(Olympia, Washington) On July 24th, 2015 beginning at 11:am, Medical Cannabis patients from all over Washington will gather on the north steps of Legislative building at the State Capitol.

There they will hold a press conference concerning the violation of patient’s rights going into effect that day, to discuss how the changes of I-502 and the newly signed law Senate Bill 5052 will affect access to care practitioners and medication.

The media has poorly portrayed I-502 stores as victims, while thousands of patients fear losing safe, affordable, and local access to their medication.

It is now our turn to speak our voices, to be heard, and to stand up for our rights and the rights of all patients.With I-502 stores spreading across the state, many are very concerned and outraged at the decision to shut down the medical dispensaries and collective gardens which offer safe, affordable and convenient access to medicine.

Robert McKim of Olympia states, “I have had success with treating my cancer with RSO(concentrated cannabis oil), I am sure that the government and [their] cronies could care less. Limiting the number of plants and having to buy at four times the price, will effectively force me to turn the doctors and the scalpels loose on me.”

“To remove hope from the sick is a criminal act, a few tax dollars is more important than a human life? How can the government and the WSLCB nullify a voter approved law?”, he asked.

With depleting availability, prices skyrocketing, and concern of repercussions from federal law enforcement if forced to be added to a registry, many will be forced to seek alternative options.

Another patient from Puyallup writes, “When the dispensaries are gone, I will have no other option than retail. I will not comply.

“Patients will simply return to the unregulated, unreformed “black market” where they were receiving their medication before. This is a big step backwards and in the wrong direction for the process of cannabis reform and compassionate use laws.”

With the newly written law, it will become almost impossible for patients to renew and keep their medical cannabis recommendations.

It is stated that patients will now have to get their recommendation for medical cannabis from their existing primary care doctor, or from the doctor that treats them for their condition. It must be proven that all other medication has failed.

A concerned patient Colleen Henne writes, “I live outside of Seattle and have no car,I talked to the Foundation where I get my recommendation, THCF. The new law says all examinations and re-examinations take place at the provider’s permanent place of business. I got my last recommendation out of a hotel room in Bellevue. I am very concerned as many of my friends have already lost theirs due to the clinics being shut down, with more becoming unauthorized as of July 24th also.”

With doctors concerned over losing their license to practice medicine, many will chose not to prescribe cannabis, even if it is the safest alternative medicine.

Cannabis can no longer be used as an alternative against harsh and powerful prescription drugs. Instead, patients who are already suffering will either be prescribed medications with harsh side effects or they will have to take their medical care into their own hands.

In addition to the closure of dispensaries and collective gardens, and reduction of plants that can be grown, other forms of medicinal cannabis such as oil concentrates like BHO or butane hash oil, which offer patients a faster and more effective way to medicate, will also become unavailable or unaffordably priced.

The new law states that all forms of butane extraction will be prohibited unless processed by someone who is licensed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, and no such licensed person(s) in the medical community exist as of yet.

Patients who find this form of cannabis most effective will also be forced to either get their medication from a recreational store or find other means.

Many cannot afford the prices of the state run stores, or do not live close enough to one to have access. The state has chosen tax dollars over the safety and well being of the sick and dying,letting greed influence their decisions.Patients are no longer being treated as people looking for relief from suffering and debilitating condition. They are instead being treated like unwanted vermin getting in the way of a corporations and sold out for a quick buck at the expense of our health.

They are being forced from the comfortability of their existing care providers which they have been with for years, made to deal with recreational retailers who know little to nothing about the products they are selling.

Furthermore, medication is being treated solely as a recreational substance.

Patients, lawyers, advocates and many others from all walks of life fought long and hard for patients ability to use cannabis as their medication, and they will continue to fight.

Their voices will not be silenced, and they will not let the rights they fought so hard for be stripped from them. They are willing to stand up to fight for themselves, for each other, and for what is right.

Together as one united they will speak out for their rights until their voices are heard and they have safe, affordable and convenient access to their medication.