Archive for Editorials

I-502, Secret Meetings, Lobbying and Federal Grants

420leaks Detective

Has legal watchdog John Worthington opened a can of worms on Washington State and the entire I-502 rules making process and legislative bill lobbying?  It looks like most of the groups involved are recipients of federal grant money, and federal law appears to prohibit them from lobbying with that money.  Read the full letter he sent out that contains public records documents to back up his claims…
Also at



Executive Office for United States Attorneys
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 2242
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Senate Appropriations Committee
Room S128, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

House Appropriations Committee
H-305, The Capitol
Washington DC 20515
1229 King Street, 3rd floor
Alexandria, Virginia 22314



In 2012 Washington State passed Initiative 1-502. After the Initiative had passed it was discovered through public access laws in December of2014 that the Washington State Liquor Control board travelled around the State of Washington and held 17 secret meetings with law enforcement and treatment professionals.

Aside from the fact that these acts violated the Washington State Open Public Meetings Act, it is now clear that many of these law enforcement and treatment organizations were receiving federal grants which by law may have prohibited them from lobbying and distributing information.

However, that is what happened here in Washington State on a grand scale, and the U.S. Attorneys for Washington were both aware of these events where many other federal agencies also attended these secret public meetings.

I believe that this situation may be the worst violation of 18 U.S. Code § 1913 -Lobbying with appropriated moneys, in United States history. Numerous grant receiving entities may have violated 18 U.S. Code § 1913, in a desperate attempt to save their respective jobs which were obviously on the line here in Washington State after the passage of l-502, the marijuana legalization initiative.

As many of you know we are a nation of laws that have to be applied evenly and fairly if the public confidence is to be kept intact. While it may be uncomfortable for some in Congress to hold these entities involved accountable to the law, it is in fact a law and it should be upheld regardless of your feelings on the issues of marijuana or drug abuse. These people signed federal grants under a declaration that federal grant monies would not be: used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, a jurisdiction, or an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation, whether before or after the introduction of any bill, measure, or resolution proposing such legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation; of any bill, measure, or resolution proposing such legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation;


Now, after meeting with the Washington State Liquor Control Board on 17 different occasions and perhaps more, the following federal grant recipients are subject to the provisions of 18 U.S. Code § 1913:

  • Northwest HIDTA
  • Spokane County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force
  • LEAD Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force
  • Substance Abuse Prevention of Clark County
  • Washington Association for Substance Abuse violence Prevention
  • Washington State Prevention Enhancement (SPE)

The following federal grant recipient sent employees employed by programs which were receiving federal funding:

  • Washington State Patrol-lAD Division (In charge or Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Forces)

The reality is the Washington State Liquor Control Board enabled many federal grant recipients to circumvent their statement of assurances which they signed agreeing not to use federal grant funding for lobbying purposes. I would not at all surprise me if the same thing happened in Colorado, Alaska, or DC.

Please hold these federal grant recipients accountable for their violations of federal laws.

PS.  It has been argued and won in Federal court that state employees under federal grants are subject to the Westfall Act, and subject to the Federal Tort Claims Act as a “loaned state employee” or “Borrowed servant.” They can’t have it both ways. The Loaned employee’s violated 18 U.S. Code § 1913: Please check for their reporting.


Thank you,

John Worthington
Renton, WA


Federal Grants and Cannabis Lobbying by 420leaks

Medical Cannabis Excise Taxes in Other States 0 to 8.8%. At Least 30% Proposed in WA.


According to the Marijuana Policy Project, other states have medical cannabis taxes that range from 0 to 8.8%. 13 of the 19 states with licensed, regulated cultivators and dispensaries have NO excise tax. Some charge sales tax while others do not. Proposed bills 5052/2136 would cause Washington State to have the highest taxed medical cannabis in the country (30% excise + 8% avg. sales), by forcing patients into the recreational system.

In most states, the fees collected from the commercial applications & licensing more than cover the costs of regulation. Excessive taxation of medical cannabis is unnecessary, an obstacle to participation in a regulated system, & most importantly- inhumane to the most vulnerable patients.

Please read the full article by GreenXena at

Is I-502 a trick or treat for voters and patients?


By John Novak

As people across  state of Washington celebrate Halloween, we would like to take time to reflect on I-502.  Has it been a trick or a treat for voters, taxpayers and medical patients since the initiative passed in 2012?

With more than 40% of the state’s cities banning the businesses, it looks like the voters in those areas without stores have been tricked.

However,  consumers in areas that have allowed stores to open have also been tricked into paying huge prices on miniscule amounts of product.

While cannabis prices have remained at a steady average of $10 per gram in both the medical and black market since like 1985, it’s at least double that, if not more, in the I-502 stores.  Quality is suspect, as is consistency.

For now, the campaign promise of reducing the black market have been a trick.

Have promises by the main sponsors been fulfilled?

Tax revenue from I-502 was promised to be in the hundreds of millions.  Stores were opened earlier this summer and as of early October, the total amount to the state was $3.5 Million.  Nowhere near the projected amount.

So what are the positive things about I-502?

Some jurisdictions have seen a decrease in marijuana arrests.  It hasn’t stopped the racial profiling, as Seattle found out when a single officer accounted for the vast majority of tickets handed out to mainly people of color for “public display”.

About the only other thing we can think of is it has helped spark new conversations at the national level.  And that has been a treat since now more states are now jumping on the bandwagon.

Sponsors of the initiative said this would happen if passed, even if the language was flawed.  And they readily admitted the flaws. The mantra became, “pass it now, fix it later”.

That was nothing more than a trick as nothing has been done to fix it is since it passed. They knew the taxes were too high.  Once it passed, the sponsors disappeared into the night like kid who got his candy and is off to the next handout down the road.

More importantly, They knew it would threaten he rights of medical patients, even though they claimed publicly it would be a treat for us.  In fact, the patients were told to roll over and die and take one for the team.

Since passing, law enforcement and the legislators, with the help of the media, have launched an all out assault to completely discredit and dismantle nearly everything in our medical cannabis laws.

They blame the medical community for undermining the recreational stores by selling cannabis at $10 per gram.  A neat trick to avoid the obvious: an overtaxed and over regulated I-502 model will never be able to beat that price.  Especially when the IRS adds in their take.

They say most of the patients are fake, claiming upwards of 90% don’t have qualifying conditions in spite of the glaring fact that not a single credible shred of evidence has ever been submitted to back up this claim.

With all this trickery going on, perhaps the most obvious glaring hole in the entire plan has been the use of the term “legal”.

While the complaints about medical undermining recreational, this has been a trick to convince people that I-502 is somehow more legal in the eyes of the federal government.

Well, the trick is, they are no more legal in the eyes of federal law than they were before I-502 was passed.

When the feds released their guidelines for state regarding cannabis regulations (remember the Cole Memo?), the last paragraph was largely ignored:  Cannabis is illegal and we will come after you at any time and you have zero defense against us doing so.

It is well past time in the state for patients to start being treated with dignity and compassion.  Not tricked into giving up hard won rights to use cannabis to treat our medical conditions.

Both the state and federal government must end this trick or treat politics on cannabis.

By the way, did you know the federal government owns patents on the medical use of cannabis and has been sending out tins filled with joints to a small group of patients?

Trick or treat, America!

UPDATE:  Just moments after writing this article, the Associated Press released a story about how the WSLCB broke the Open Public Meetings Act 17 times.  See the story on KOMO 4 News:

Also at with links to relevant documents

Could this Be the New Bi-Partisan Medical Cannabis Caucus?


By John Novak and Brian Stone

In the rush to judge legislors for voting away the rights of patients in recent voting, it’s sometimes hard to take the time to give credit where credit is due.

It looks like patients will lose most of their rights and priveledges in the present Medical Cannabis laws (RCW 69.51a) with the possible passage of SB 5887 or HB 2149.

Patient advocates Brian Stone and John Novak dedicated an extra amount of effort on the legislators in the 46th District. Our area has a good number of patients covering an area from the University District and wraps around the North end of Lake Washington.

We are very happy with of our representatives in the 46th District. Each of them took bold steps to protect and support patients and one took the time to make an apology after a wrong vote and tried to undue some of the damage with Senate Bill 5887.

Yesterday our Senator, David Frockt met with constituents of the 46th district to hear our concerns with SB 6542 and SB5887. He asked us if a 6 month “moratorium” on this bill, would be helpful so that the Cannabis patient community could present new legislation to both protect patient privileges, as well as addressing the concerns of the Federal government.

He understood and supported our position regarding the registry (none). And he so introduced amendments for a 6 month delay and to remove the registry. Unfortunately both of these suggested amendments were rejected in a very partisan vote in the Senate Ways & Means Committe. Thank you Sen. Frockt for this effort and support.

This was due also to the direct efforts of Rep. Jessyn Farrell, also of the 46th. While she voted in favor of Rep. Cody’s 2149 bill, she quickly realized her mistake the next day and emailed us upon reading our last minute personals plea on finding major holes in the bill for Veterans and others with life long illnesses and to vote no.

Rep. Gerry Pollet, originally was skeptical of the Medical Cannabis community’s needs. But he took the time to meet with John and Kim Novak late last year to learn more about the needs of patients in a meeting that Senator Frockt also attended personally.

It took great courage in voting against HB 2149, and Rep. Pollet was one of the very few legislators that did. He did this in spite of the pressure of going against the majority of his party.

So maybe the 46th District will become the new leader in protecting patients rights here in King County! If you live in our district, please remember these actions by our incumbents and their support for patients at election time.

Another huge surprise coming out the session so far has been the House Republicans, especially their debate on the House floor vote for 2149 as seen in the video below.

Rep. Cary Condotta listened to our message of not changing the cannabis laws in 2014 seriously when he spoke about the bill being premature. He thought the impacts it would have on patients hasn’t been studied properly.

“Right now, you’re taking everything away from them.” He stated. “You can’t give it back. I’m a little concerned we’re moving a little too quickly without a program to integrate.”

An excellent analysis was given by Rep. Matt Manweller of the 13th District. He spoke of the innapropriatness for the Liquor Control Board to be handling this medication that some people’s lives are depending on.

“Would it hurt us to leave these people alone?” he asked.

Tracy Linderman Sirrine from the 13th District who spoke to him afterword stated, “I’m very proud of him.” She’s been an avid advocate for patients and has supported patients with her red shirt down in Olympia.

Rep. Manweller also then talked about a conversation between the Department of Health and the 7th District’s Rep. Shelley Short. The Department was part of the LCB’s MMJ Workgroup that come up with the provisions this bill was based on. Their answer for why these changes were needed after all these years without any major issues? “We need regulations simply because there is an absence of regulations.”

That wasn’t good enough for the 7th District.

“In a time when nothing seems to go right at the capitol, District 7 can find comfort in knowing that Shelly Short, Joel Kretz and Brian Dansel care!” said Gina Garcia, a patient advocate from the 7th District in the northeastern area of Washington State.

“They listen to what we the patients have to say but they don’t only listen, they really seem to genuinely care.”

Rep. Kretz was very supportive of all the patients coming to his office with the help of the local district advocates.

This is a very large district covering Okanogan County into Spokane. He was supportive of patients when John Novak was raided in this district back in 2010 and this year’s no vote on 2149 proved it. He also took the time to listen to the story of Lilly Fisher, a child taken from her father by CPS for using cannbis as medicine.

Other patients in the 19th & 20th districts found help.  Chris Bornstedt says, “Rep. Ed Orcutt took a lot of his time to listen to me about this issue even though I may have been a little rough on him a couple times! Thank you for looking out for patients!”

“Also, Rep. Brian Blake had very thoughtful conversations with me,” said Chris. “He put patients first by breaking ranks with the Democrats on this issue. If people could only understand how tough that must have been for him that night. Thank you!”

Are you brave enough to take a stand along side other medical cannabis patients with these legislators that are listening and taking action when it counts? Then you could be wearing a red shirt and helping us kill these bills and PROTECT MEDICAL CANNABIS.

We continue our message of “No changes to RCW 69.51a” in the 2014 Legislative Short Session. It’s a simple message. Human Compassion Necessitates it.

Write and call your legislators now…

What is a 60 day supply? 6 plants is not even close


There are 3 main bills in front of the Washington State Legislature:  5887, 6178 and 2149.

All of these have one thing in common:  they reduce possession amounts and plant limits.

What everyone seems to be forgetting is the State went through a very exhaustive process to determine what a 60 day supply in in 2008.  The original I-692 initiative was in 1998 and lacked clarity on this issue.

Here’s the files on this 2008 process, showing that even the 15 plants patients have now is really not enough.

So who is coming up with these plant count numbers that are restrictive and arbitrary?

Why, law enforcement, of course!

This first file is a draft press release letter.  The best of the other files is installment #3.

DOH 6032 Limits Draft by 420leaks



Segment 001 of DIRM Search_158745_pdf-r by 420leaks

Segment 002 of DIRM Search_158745_pdf-r by 420leaks

Segment 003 of DIRM Search_158745_pdf-r by 420leaks

Segment 004 of DIRM Search_158745_pdf-r by 420leaks

ESSB 5034 SR_2013-60925 SEGMENT 5 NMR by 420leaks