Archive for Plan to End Medical Cannabis

The Fight Against Toxicity, Discrimination and Corruption of Cannabis Continues in Washington State

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) had a major independent study of their enforcement division by consulting firm, Hillard-Heintze

Their report, which was released at the end of 2019, showed a toxic culture exists within the agency. You can read it here on the WSLCB’s website.

Our independent research here at 420leaks goes beyond and shows an agency and state leaders that risk losing it’s entire licensing scheme, the billions in sales and taxes, subjecting it to further loss by individual or class action lawsuits due to this toxic culture.

Kind of ironic for an industry now recognized by these same politicians as “essential” during a pandemic.

Aaron Barfield, Peter Manning and several others from Black Excellence In Cannabis based out of Renton, WA have all experienced discrimination in the licensing process. 

I 502 has been a nightmare for me,” stated Barfield.”

“I did not support I 502 but I knew it would be the death of medical so I tried to move forward under that system. I had no idea that I was in for such a financially devastating experience.’

Their group has been lobbying the WSLCB and the state legislators for years to get the black and minority communities to have equity in the industry.  

I-502 was sold as a way for medical providers to turn their operations into regulated businesses. That regulation was supposed to grant access to economic opportunity.

Barfield told us, “Instead the WSLCB has regulated us out of an industry that we built. This system has almost completely excluded African Americans.”

He also stated, “During the application process they denied Peter and I due process by arbitrarily moving our qualifications around and then even enforced rules that didn’t exist to disqualify us.’

“The most disturbing and frustrating thing is that after denying our applications the WSLCB approved a white woman from Peter’s Medical Marijuana Collective Garden for a license, with the exact same paperwork.’

The state made an effort to bring collectives under the larger I-502 model in 2015 legislation in spite of bitter protests from the grassroots community thaat sprung up around medical cannabis..

They filed a lawsuit against the state and US attorney William Barr in US Federal Court in Washington D.C. over the discrimination within the WSLCB licensing last month.

They plan to use this effort to bring exposure to the corrupt and discriminatory nature of Washington’s cannabis regulatory scheme.

“We have been trying for years to find a solution in Washington. In our recent meeting with Governor Jay Inslee, he used our platform handout as a coaster for his soda can while we plead our case.”

Black Excellence in Cannabis Members meet with Governor Inslee

“This showed us that our only hope for remedy would be to seek protection and relief from US federal court,” said Barfield.

Another case that highlighted WSLCB toxicity came to our attention last spring was JOHN JUNG VS WSLCB filed in Pierce County Superior court.  

We first found out about WSLCB enforcement officer John Jung while listening to testimony he gave about the lack of training and the toxic culture within the WSLCB to the Commerce and Gaming Committee in the Washington State legislature last March.  He wrote a press release for us describing what he is experiencing.

Jung filed a lawsuit against the agency for failing to give him and other enforcement officers the full peace officer training and certification while also allowing a toxic work environment, giving many officers guns and badges.  In other words, they are not police officers, yet they are acting like it.

After describing Jung’s story to the House Public Safety Committee Chair Rep. Roger Goodman in a lunch meeting last winter, we were informed the WSLCB was asking for this authority in legislation he was then considering for the 2020 legislative session that ended in March this year.

It was not until a pile of search warrants obtained from the WSLCB by 420leaks, including raids on patients in their homes into Rep. Goodman’s hands that we all realized the gravity of the situation.

Not only does the agency have under-trained and under-certified officers being given guns and badges without being peace officers, but they have also been getting search warrants signed by judges and raiding people in their homes and businesses!

The agency has been conducting these criminal investigations on marijuana cases when they only appear to have regulatory authority on i502 licensees and registered patient cooperative gardens and others.  

In one case from late last year, Levi Lyon and his girlfriend had their bus seized by the agency.  They did it because his girlfriend offered to share a hit with undercover WSLCB officer. The hit was from her own personal amount that was purchased legally from an I502 shop. 

His full story and request for help from the community is found here.

We’ll have more to say on this story coming soon. Check our Facebook page for a sneak peak.

The WSLCB is doing these criminal investigations and raids with the cooperation of other law enforcement agencies, while at the same time are asking the legislators to give them authority to do these things.  

The first case we found the  WSLCB doing this was in 2017, less than a year after the law from 2015 went into effect in 2016.  It was a raid using a SWAT tank on a registered patient with just 10 plants. Here’s the full search warrant obtained by 420leaks.

The most recent bill requested by LCB asking for authority to investigate criminal matters on marijuana, tobacco and vapor products was House Bill 1626.  The bill was introduced in the 2019 legislative session and carried over for consideration for the 2020 session.  It never moved through the process. 

This means as of this writing, it appears the WSLCB still has no statutory authority.

They also asked for the mutual cooperation authority to work with other law enforcement back in 2015 with House Bill 1537 and were denied for that as well by the legislators.  They still do not have this authority, yet they are doing it anyway.

They have been asking for this criminal enforcement authority for over a decade, but keep getting denied every year. 

Part of the problem with this toxic police style culture is that WSLCB contracts with a 3rd party called LEXIPOL for writing their enforcement policy.   
 
LEXIPOL writes policy nationwide for mostly police agencies.  The agency is failing to amend these policies to match their agency regulatory authority.  Rick Garza and the board have failed to reign in the overreach.

This leads to confusion between the Chief of Enforcement and the enforcement division unsure of what their boundaries are when you have policies that contain full criminal law enforcement policy.

The ACLU went after Spokane PD over LEXIPOL policies a few years back, finding all kinds of issues created by not amending LEXIPOL policy to adapt for our state statutes.

We sent this information to the ACLU (and every other group we could think of). Are they not investigating because Alison Holcomb and the ACLU were the driving force behind behind the I502 initiative? 

We received copies of these  WSLCB policies and you can see the LEXIPOL copywrite on them…

Lexipol copyright on WSLCB enforcement policy

As we reported last month, they have even given themselves the policy for use of cell phone spy technology, like Stingray devices in the search and seizure policies.

WSLCB Cell Phone Spying Policy

We have a records request out now to see if they are actually using these cellphone spying technologies.

Even the Hillard-Heintze independent report for the legislators on the toxic culture released at the end of 2019 referenced these problems with LEXIPOL writing policy for a regulatory agency.


From Hillard Heintze WSLCB 2019 report, page 41

420leaks has now confirmed these issues with the agency during a brief conversation with WSLCB Board Member Ollie Garrett.  

Our founder John Novak spoke to her last Saturday when after a social equity in cannabis licensing event in Seattle, that improperly trained and uncertified WSLCB enforcement officers are being issued guns.

He told her they need to get these out of those officers hands.  She replied, “It is going to happen.”

So on Feb. 25, 2020, Novak begged the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee to please fix the toxic culture and take the guns away from those uncertified officers at a public hearing on a bill for social equity in cannabis licensing the WSLCB had requested, House Bill 2870.

You can also watch Barfield and Manning testimony at the hearing here.

Right after, corporate cannabis lobbyist Vicki Christophersen told him in the hallway that she heard the guns would be gone in 60 days.

So not only is everyone aware of this down there in Olympia, they are going to allow it to go on for at least another 2 months!

However, in public records released since, that even appears to be in question.

The state is negligent to say the least. What happens if someone gets shot, or even just an accidental discharge?

This is a complete fiasco and lucky this has not happened to date that we are aware of.

In our independent review, we have concluded the state should strip the guns and the LEXIPOL strategies, abolish the board and current executive directors and terminate the employment of the heads of the enforcement division.

Our state should hang it’s head in shame at the failure in leadership.

This falls directly on the hands of two other offices in Olympia.  

Jay (Inslee) and Silent Bob (Ferguson) are a joke when it comes to Washington State cannabis laws and our constitution and protecting the right of individuals.  

One would have thought the legislators would reign in this corrupt agency after the courts found 17 violations of the Open Public Meetings Act back in 2014.  They were caught by open government and public records researcher Arthur West by holding secret meetings with law enforcement, substance abuse and other insider stakeholders.  He eventually settled the case with the agency for nearly $200,000 in 2015.

The failure of our many in our own community advocacy groups to speak out is just as alarming when you realize cannabis forfeitures are up and our state is #1 in the entire nation in that category by a large margin according to the DEA’s numbers!

That means more money to pay confidential informants and undercover cops who prey on people over Facebook and other social media, or by joining groups and going out and using cannabis with them.

It is time for new leadership and an end to this horrific war on the cannabis grassroots community by state and corporate creeps and their tax payer funded goon squads.  100+ years of targeting good people over a plant is a national disgrace and the true reefer madness.

“Governor Inslee and the state leaders here have failed to fulfill their responsibilities to implement a fair & equitable cannabis regulatory system to ensure equal access to economic opportunities and provide equal protection under the law for all members of our community,” said Barfield.

It’s true. Just ask the state legislators. They have openly told us this has been a corrupt agency since it began in 1933! We aren’t reporting something new. But it is newsworthy since it appears nobody seems to be willing to hold their feet to the fire.

This is worse than legalization.  It is a stab in the back in the name of progress.  It is taking away our constitutional rights and hoping you’ll smoke too much to care.

Let’s not forget this once our lives go back to normal in these trying times.

(John Novak and Aaron Barfield contributed to this article)

Just Say No to Drug War Bribes!

TELL YOUR STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS: “JUST SAY NO TO DRUG WAR BRIBES!”

Taken from NORTH CAROLINA LAW REVIEW
Volume 73 | Number 3 Article 5
3-1-1995
Myth of Dual Sovereignty: Multijurisdictional Drug Law Enforcement and Double Jeopardy – Sandra Guerra

Read/Download the entire document with references on our 420leaks database at https://app.box.com/s/d1f76lya313nuescjxvxrsaw6v1p4tqg

 

“B. Encouraging States to Adopt Specific Laws and Policies Using Financial Carrots and Sticks

Because states and localities have not always shown an eagerness to submit to the control of federal agencies, the federal government has found it necessary to entice their cooperation. The drug task forces encourage participation in two ways. First, they offer state and local agents the opportunity to work with federal agents on equal terms, thereby elevating the status of state and local agents. Thus, state and local criminal justice personnel are less likely to resent the federal presence. Second, the federal government recognizes that generous remuneration decreases power struggles. The federal anti-drug effort makes substantial sums available to state and local governments following the federal plan. If the President’s 1995 budget request is fully funded, state and local governments will receive roughly $811million. The timing of the drive for federalization has coincided with a period of economic hardship in most states. By offering financial incentives, the federal government has effectively dismantled potential political opposition to its growing influence over state and local policy making. To the contrary, state and local agencies consider themselves the beneficiaries of federal largess. To maximize their intake of federal dollars, state and local agencies seek ways to become involved in federal investigations.
The expansion of federal influence also coincides with a self-perpetuating cycle of political rhetoric that has fed a public frenzy over drug crimes. In turn, public opinion has justified even stronger rhetoric and broader policies. In this environment, any dissent from proposals for broader law enforcement efforts and more severe penalties is widely viewed as political suicide. Neither state nor federal leaders dare come forward with objections, even if the objections are based on federalism concerns rather than substantive policy concerns. Issues of federalism give way under the weight of public fear of crime and the states’ needs for economic aid.”

 

Still influencing policy to this day.  Here are links to the current version of the WA state bill, HB 1095 that would allow sick kids to use nonsmokable cannabis medication in schools.  It was first introduced in 2017.

As of this post, they haven’t passed it yet because of fears over losing federal grants. They even have language to end the program if the feds even hint at withholding those grants. It’s sad…
https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1095&Year=2019&Initiative=false

Spelled out in the fiscal note. No threat to health or public safety, just the fear of loosing up to nearly a BILLION just in federal education grants because of schedule 1 language..
https://fortress.wa.gov/ofm/fnspublic/FNSPublicSearch/Search/1095/66

This in a state that has clearly stated medical use since 1980 in the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act, that was quickly defunded.

The Legislators openly declares medical evidence exists at RCW 69.51A.005
Purpose and intent.
(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) There is medical evidence…
https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=69.51A.005

Money over real people, in this case it is sick, disabled and terminally ill children’s education.  The leadership in these parties need to go back to basics…

Washington State Constitution
ARTICLE I
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
SECTION 1 POLITICAL POWER.

All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights…

ARTICLE IX
EDUCATION
SECTION 1 PREAMBLE.

It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.

http://leg.wa.gov/LawsAndAgencyRules/Pages/constitution.aspx

Department of Health Confirms it, No Privacy for Patients In State Registry

From: Weeks, Kristi (DOH) <Kristi.Weeks@DOH.WA.GOV>
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 2:43 PM
To: John Novak
Subject: RE: Questions

The traceability system (under the authority of the LCB) lists the purchases and patient identification number. The database (under the authority of the Department of Health) lists the patient information including the patient identification number. The LCB cannot access the database. DOH could receive information from the LCB’s traceability system, and DOH employees with access to the database could connect the two dots. However, we have no reason to do so because an individual patient’s purchasing habits are of no interest to us.

From: John Novak [mailto:changingplanet@hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 12:22 PM
To: Weeks, Kristi (DOH)
Subject: RE: Questions

Thanks for the quick reply.

One follow up revised question: Can the State determine which products an individual patient has purchased?

“Can you determine which products a patient has purchased? Can I personally? No, I cannot tell what an individual patient has purchased.”

-John

——– Original message ——–
From: “Weeks, Kristi (DOH)” <Kristi.Weeks@DOH.WA.GOV>
Date: 8/10/2016 8:58 AM (GMT-08:00)
To: John Novak <changingplanet@hotmail.com>
Subject: RE: Questions

See below.

From: John Novak [mailto:changingplanet@hotmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2016 11:49 AM
To: Weeks, Kristi (DOH)
Subject: Questions

Ms. Weeks,

If you have a few moments, I have some questions and hope you can provide some clarity. Still a lot of confusion out there.

Do you have a way to track each patient’s purchases? When a patient with a recognition card makes a purchase, the identification number on the card (but no other patient information) is entered into the traceability system in order to audit purchases that are made without sales tax. In other words, for the store to later prove (if requested by the Department of Revenue) that the sale was appropriately sales tax free.

Which information about the transaction does the system provide about the patients’s purchases? The items purchased and the patient’s recognition card number.

Can you determine which products a patient has purchased? Can I personally? No, I cannot tell what an individual patient has purchased.

Are patients in the registry able to get a sales tax discount on all products in any i502 shop, or just the endorsed shops? Just endorsed shops although some stores without an operational endorsement are offering patients a 10% discount in lieu of the sales tax relief.

If just the endorsed shops, then is that only on “medical” products, or any product in the shop? Any product in the shop.

Thank you again for your time. It is most appreciated.

-John Novak

206-915-3450

Patient Privacy Concerns Ignored by WA ST Dept of Health

The so-called Patient Protection Act (Senate Bill 5052) that was passed in the 2015 Legislative Session is showing all kinds of problems.  Instead of just dealing with our legislators in Olympia, now patients are being forced to follow the actions of the Department of Health and the WSLCB.

As has been the case from the start of I-502, patients and the public are being deliberately marginalized and excluded from the process.

The state mandated new standardized authorization forms under 5052.

However, when they came out, it included a checkbox section that now forced patients to reveal their qualifying condition on the front page!  It was not part of the language in the bill, but there it was with the statement that if not filled out, the authorization would be invalid.

Why is this a concern?  Because as of July 1, 2016, this is the form patients will use to sign up for the patient registry.  And you sign up for the registry, not with the Dept. of Health, not with your health care provider, but your local retail marijuana shop who have no experience with handling vital medical records or patient privacy!  And the registry is accessible by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, the Department of Health, law enforcement, etc.  All the while cannabis is still on schedule 1 in both state and federal law!

Remember, this is a state willing to sell it to anyone over the counter 21 and older with ID!

Patients now being forced to use these forms are already reporting issues.

Back in August 07, 2015, we contacted the Department of Health with the following question, believing this new requirement to be an invasion of patient privacy: Can you please provide the bill number, bill section and statute that requires a checkbox of the list of qualifying conditions?

Mon, 10 Aug 2015, the reply came:

Inclusion of the qualifying condition is not specifically required in the bill but it is not an exclusive list. We made the decision to include the qualifying condition for policy reasons. Many other states require this information on the physician’s statement and it is recommended in the model legislation promoted by Americans for Safe Access.
Kristi Weeks, JD
Review Officer/Policy Counsel
Washington Department of Health

 We followed up with a personal visit to Ms. Weeks at her office in Olympia.  She was very courteous.  When it was explained there were patients who do not wish the information to be listed, she understood but held firm.  The policy reason was wanting more information.  The other was that other states were doing it.

When asked why patients and the public were not allowed in the decision making process, Ms. Weeks said that it was not required.

So we asked what patients could do to get that removed from the form, she explained that we could try to lodge a complaint with the Rules committee.  The other option was to file a lawsuit.

Shortly after, we filed a public records request to the Department of Health on all the records and communications around this new form.

Make sure you all give Americans for Safe Access a big thanks (NOT) for being the inspiration for Ms. Weeks from the Department of Health to include your medical conditions in the patient authorization form and in the patient database when it was not required by a new bill that passed in the 2015 legislative session.

She seems to enjoy the irony at our expense…

https://app.box.com/s/te2gw4gecs12c4hxjdcd00ahbxqo9fae

From Weeks, Kristi (DOH) To Baumgartner, Chris J (DOH); Hodgson, Lisa (DOH); Schmitt, Kathy (DOH); Wise, Jeff (DOH); Fernando, Andres (DOH) Recipients Chris.Baumgartner@DOH.WA.GOV; Lisa.Hodgson@DOH.WA.GOV; Kathy.Schmitt@DOH.WA.GOV; Jeff.Wise@DOH.WA.GOV; Andres.Fernando@DOH.WA.GOV
Here is my version unless anyone has strong feeling otherwise. Yes, it’s two pages. Unfortunate, but necessary to get everything on it. And since I really only needed a page and a half, I used the extra space to reiterate some of the law. Can’t hurt.
I did end up listing the qualifying conditions (Chris – I didn’t know how to make auto text check boxes. Can you add those?) It’s the only possible way of getting this information into the database and it’s too valuable to forgo. I do have examples from many other states who require this information if we need to justify it.
When we have all agreed to the final version, we can brainstorm who we want to vet it through. Obviously, the boards and commissions. Definitely WSMA. They have had the most used example of a form for years. Probably the other associations as well. Jason McGill asked me to run it by Americans for Safe Access. They will probably hate it on principle but at least they can’t argue about including the patient’s condition since I noticed that their model legislation says:
( Y ) “Written recommendation” means a document authorizing a patient’s medical use of cannabis that is written on tamper-resistant paper and signed by a qualified medical professional. Such recommendation shall be made only in the course of a bona fide medical professional-patient relationship and shall specify the qualifying patient’s qualifying medical condition(s).
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/model_legislation
Ironically, the model legislation also establishes a registry. Wish I would have known that when the bill was still in process.
Kristi Weeks, JD Review Officer/Policy Counsel Washington Department of Health PO Box 47890 Olympia, WA 98504-7890 Phone (360) 236-4066 Email Kristi.Weeks@doh.wa.gov Public Health – Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Washington.

When interviewed by “The Stranger” in March, 2016, Ms. Weeks revealed that “…the state could put the data collected on the form to good use, juxtaposing it with data on opioid painkiller use to spot trends…”

That is code for those of you not aware. It is code that means, if you write an authorization for cannabis, you better not write a prescription for an opiate because if the DEA matches that, the doctor could get their federal licenses taken away.

I know this because I have had doctors refuse to do it for me. In fact, I was released from a hospital during a massive pacreatic attack because I admitted to being a medical cannabis patient. The hospital release form even stated to stop using marijuana.

This is an absolute outrage and Ms. Weeks answer if you don’t like it is, don’t get an authorization or as she told me in person, “You can sue us”.

View all the public records on this here:  https://app.box.com/s/r40nqpw9sjfbq1oxrmguuai7qenevhfa

mmj-page-001

Petitioning the Governor: Extend the July 1st Deadline for Medical Cannabis

To the Honorable Governor of Washington State,

Washington State passed ill advised legislation on cannabis for medical patients in the 2015 legislative session, SB 5052.  No fix was passed for the 2016 session.

As of July 1, 2016, patients will be left with no legitimate access to the quantities, types and quality control we have had since the passage of our medical laws back in 1998.

READ & SIGN THE PETITION HERE