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Secretive “MMJ Work Group” Plans to Kill Medical Cannabis Exposed – Part Two

By John Novak

New documents are coming in fast and our researchers are trying to develop a timeline to present all the information. Here’s a rough start.

In an email from March 28th, 2013, Liquor Control Board member Chris Marr details plans with Director Rick Garza on how to take over or eliminate medical cannabis through subterfuge, even though they had no real authority under I-502 to do so. (See RCW 69.50.342(12)  http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=69.50.342 )

The plan includes using Department of Health, Senator Ann Rivers, BOTEC and the Governor’s office to cover for their activities.

LCB Garza Marr – the fix by 420leaks

 

 

The same day the above email was sent by LCB Board member Chris Marr, Senator Ann Rivers introduces Ezra Eikemeyer’s bill, SB 5887 that would have given the Liquor Control Board authority over medical cannabis.

  WA Senate Bill 5887 by Senator Rivers

 

 

The bill gets a Public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on Tuesday April 16th 2013, 8:00AM.  It dies in Committee after the hearing, not even getting a vote as patients come out to speak against it.

 

 

Only a few days after introducing Senate Bill 5887, on April 4th, Senator Rivers introduces and gets Amendment 224 adopted into the Senate Budget Bill, SB 5034.  This amendment does two things.  It gives the Liquor Control Board more money and requires them to work with the Departments of Health and Revenue to come up with medical cannabis recommendations for a new bill by January 1st, 2014 for the legislators to vote on in the next legislative session.

5034-S AMS RIVE S2503.1 by 420leaks

 

 

Then BOTEC’s Mark Kleiman goes into action with statements in an interview with Bob Young of the Seattle Times, published April 6, 2013.  This is right on cue with the plan as laid out by Marr’s email back on March 28th in point #2.

The state’s pot consultant, Mark Kleiman, says competition from medical marijuana could easily undercut the recreational system the state is trying to create, siphoning away millions in potential taxes.

The going price for pot in the largely unregulated, untaxed medical system is about $10 per gram, said Kleiman, a UCLA drug-policy expert. For the state’s new highly taxed system, he said, that is a “very hard number to hit.”

Unlike the recreational system, the medical market also serves minors. And while the recreational system limits adults to possessing an ounce, the medical system allows patients to have a pound and a half of weed.

“I don’t think the legal market (state officials) are imagining will be able to compete with the medical market if it remains as wide open as it currently is,” Kleiman said.

Patients showed up in numbers at the public hearing for the Budget Bill 5034 when it was in the House Appropriations Committee on April 10th.  However, that was the only time because rules were suspended from there and no more public hearings were held. Testimony from patients begins at around the 1:35:00 point…

 

Sunday, June 2, 2013, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles sends out an email to key Senators warning them about about this issue with the LCB.

It has also has resulted in a high level of concern on the part of many patient and other advocacy groups — including even outright opposition being expressed in rallies and demonstrations. I am concerned that we would be handing over too much of our responsibility to a regulatory agency. I also worry that too many conclusions would be drawn behind closed doors, and that the process for creating these rules would circumvent public input. In many ways, the LCB has a vested interest in diverting business from the medical collectives now operating and into the retail stores when they open early next year. It is easy to argue the LCB also has a vested interest in wanting to add to its regulatory scope, and bring the medical cannabis industry into its system.

 

  Kohl-Welles email on the LCB by 420leaks

 

 

On June 19th, many patients, activists and different groups sponsored an event in Olympia. It was a peaceful event where we were going to speak to the crowd for a few minutes, then break up into smaller groups to meet their legislators and set up meetings about this issue. Upon arrival, we learned the government called a recess for the day. So instead, we had patients speak for the all the press.

Story from Q13 Fox News

http://q13fox.com/2013/06/19/medical-marijuana-advocates-protest-at-state-capitol/

The Olympian

http://www.theolympian.com/2013/06/19/2592067/should-one-agency-oversee-both.html

 

 

We finally get the names on the Secretive MMJ Work Group in a document from the Liquor Control Board on September 10th.  Representative Christopher Hurst, mentioned in Marr’s March 28th email to Garza, holds a House Government Oversight and Accountability work session.

 

 

The addition of John Lane from the Governor’s office as a key element in Marr’s plan is now revealed in this slide from the hearing.

Medical Cannabis Work Group Update by 420leaks

 

 

On October 2, Ben Livingston of the Stranger publishes this document from the Washington State Department of Health

WA Dept of Health MMJ Workgroup Recommendations by 420leaks

 

Now today, October 16th, this two page document was revealed by a public records request from myself to the Department of Revenue.  The fix is in!  Profits over patients…

I-502 Taxation of Medical Cannabis and Recreational Marijuana by 420leaks

 

Lawsuits have been filed by Arthur West to make this group subject to the open Meetings Act and the Public Records Act.  You can view some of these files in our MMJ Work Group collection of files at our 420leaks Scribd page.  http://www.scribd.com/collections/4362334/Medical-Cannabis-Work-Group

A great expose on this can be found on the Washington Cannabis Wire blog post by former legislator and lobbyist, Jim Boldt, titled “Cannabis Creating A Secret Government-Now Three Agencies Close The Door” posted September 25th, 2013. (For some reason, they removed the article.)

As a result of these actions, a press release came out on September 30th from the three state agencies responsible for drafting recommendations & provisions to the Legislature on medical marijuana.   published their timeline on October 8th, announced a process for the public to provide written comment. The public may provide written comment to this MMJ workgroup at medicalmarijuana@liq.wa.gov

View the timeline press release here
http://lcb.wa.gov/pressreleases/agencies-announce-timeline-drafting-recommendations-medical-marijuana

If you are a patient, provider, collective garden member, health care worker, the time is now to make your thoughts known.

Don’t stop at sending just one email. Send comments to your legislators and tell them about these documents.

You may send a brief message to your district legislators through the in-state toll-free Hotline number: 800.562.6000.

You may send an e-mail message to your legislator by using the legislator e-mail services at https://dlr.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/Default.aspx.

The Hearing Impaired can send a brief message to their district legislators through the in-state toll-free TTY Hotline number: 800.635-9993.

Tell them the people voted for I-502, but they voted for I-692 under humanitarian concerns for the sick and disabled first.  And that separation was clearly written into the language to prevent it.  This is now under threat by government officials determined to reduce access to their medicine and the further reduce the few health care professionals willing to help them remain out of prison.

RCW 69.50.342(12) now states “ That nothing in chapter 3, Laws of 2013 shall be construed as authorizing the state liquor control board to seize, confiscate, destroy, or donate to law enforcement marijuana, useable marijuana, or marijuana-infused products produced, processed, sold, offered for sale, or possessed in compliance with the Washington state medical use of cannabis act, chapter 69.51A RCW.”

In fact, the campaign was run on the promise that I-502 would not change the medical laws. Here’s the FAQ document from their website

I-502 Backgrounder – Medical Marijuana – 073012