Archive for Public Records

WSLCB Accidentally Leaks Confidential Information of I-502/SB 5052 Applicants

By John Novak
The email thread below shows you the timeline of a massive data leak to me, by accident, on a public records request revealing I-502/5052 applicants’ personal identifying information, including social security numbers, among other things.
The link provided by the public records officer will take you to the official account for the WSLCB so you can verify authenticity for yourself until the link expires at the end of June.
All files have now been properly redacted by the agency and are now available through the 420leaks database account at this link:
How many times in the last few years has this happened now?  Too many.  It was only last February when we learned that more than 91,000 patients in Washington State had their personal identification information and private health information compromised.
The public records laws in this state are vital to citizen oversight and participation in the process, helping to keep us informed and help show where we need improvements.  More money needs to be spent on upgrading public records departments.
This is the price we pay for large state agencies that keep mountains of data watched over by an underfunded and understaffed public records department.
Patients around the state have already faced uncomfortable situations as a result of this new standardized form, especially those with HIV. How can we turn over these patients in good conscience to I-502 shops with these serious privacy issues caused by legislative and bureaucratic indifference to patient needs?
By their own actions, these two agencies have proven to be deaf, dumb and blind to patient input.  They have instead fostered a culture of contempt, ineptitude and in some cases, outright corruption of the process.
This was clearly shown by the nearly $200,000 settlement paid out by the LCB to Arthur West after his hard work and effort revealing to the court evidence of 17 illegal secret meetings with law enforcement and other groups.
Recently, John Worthington filed a complaint against the WSLCB challenging the entire I-502 rule making process due to their tampering with the rule making file.  The LCB Board dismissed his claims outright, but a Thurston County Superior Court judge recently ruled in Worthington’s favor, calling their actions to be “arbitrary and capricious” and remanded it back to the LCB for another hearing.
Also, Douglas Hiatt filed a federal lawsuit last week in Federal court with an injunction to stop 5052.  The case will get its first hearing later this month.  One of the Plaintiffs on this case is the well known cannabis specialist, Dr. Gregory Carter, MD.
Dr. Carter wrote a letter to the legislators warning them of the harms of SB 5052.  View that document here:
Why are we doing this to patients in a state that sells it to anyone 21 and older with an ID?

It’s more than obvious that the state must start investing funds into training, implementation and oversight of their public records departments.  More public records officers, better training and upgraded systems with double triple checking on privacy concerns with personal and confidential information must be prioritized. State employees and the public deserve better.


Patients, health care providers, designated providers, their families and the ever increasing support base, most of which are registered voters and taxpayers, will be watching how the state handles it all.


——– Original message ——–
From: “Norton, Melissa K (LCB)” <>
Date: 6/3/2016 2:41 PM (GMT-08:00)
Subject: WSLCB PRR 16-02-174 correct 1st Installment

Dear Mr. Novak:

Thank you for your email.

You wrote the following: “I would like to have an official request from the WSLCB for deletion of these files that includes an explanation of what caused this request, both in writing for my records, please.”

The reason that we requested you to delete the files provided to you as your first installment of records was due to privacy concerns regarding the records that were provided. Within the “1st Installment” folder, there was a “redact” folder which contained 98 emails, many of which contained sensitive tax and financial information. It is our belief that in error the “redact” folder was included in the folder that was uploaded to Thank you again for working with us to ensure that these records were removed so that we could apply appropriate redactions.

We have completed the redactions on those particular emails. Here is a new link to the entirety of the first installment:

These records will be available for you to download for the next 30 days. Codes appear within the redactions on the records, and the basis for these exemptions is briefly explained as follows:



Brief Explanatory Description

Statutory Basis


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)


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)


Social Security Number

Social Security Numbers are exempt from disclosure.

RCW 42.56.510 and 42 USC Section 405(c) (2) (C) (viii) (1)


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)

We also wanted to communicate with you to let you know that Mr. Aguayo is no longer with the agency and Kelly McDermott from our office will be taking over this request.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you.


Missy Norton
Records Manager
Office – 360-664-1693/Fax – 360-664-9689

From: John Novak []
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2016 1:33 PM
To: Norton, Melissa K (LCB) <>
Subject: RE: WSLCB PRR 16-02-174 1st Installment
Ms. Norton,

I would like to have an official request from the WSLCB for deletion of these files that includes an explanation of what caused this request, both in writing for my records, please.


——– Original message ——–
From: “Norton, Melissa K (LCB)” <>
Date: 6/2/2016 5:16 PM (GMT-08:00)
Subject: RE: WSLCB PRR 16-02-174 1st Installment
Dear John,Thank you for your understanding.  We are having trouble with uploading the correct first installment of records to Box.  We will provide those records to you tomorrow June 3, 2016.Thank you again,Missy Norton
Records Manager
Office – 360-664-1693/Fax – 360-664-9689


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…

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).
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 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:


Judge Calls State Cannabis Board Actions ‘Arbitrary & Capricious’

John Worthington is asking for your help in his lawsuit against the Washington State Liquor Control Board over the corruption of the rules making process. He needs to file an appeal this week and needs our help to come up with the money.

John had a recent victory in Superior Court after the LCB ruled against him. The Superior Court judge viewed the LCB’ s dismissal as “arbitrary and caprecious”, and remanded it back for a new hearing.

You can read the details of this case below.

John’s expenses include a $290 filing fee due this week. He will also have about $600+ to pay for a copy of the administrative records to be sent to the courts.

We are asking for $1000 to give John the cash he needs to continue this fight to expose this corruption of the process, bringing much needed sunshine on this subject.

Thank you for your continued support. This is your chance to help John make history! Please contribute today so he can get the filing fee paid by Friday, June 10 at the link here:


420leaks Press Release

Contact info:

John Worthington (Plaintiff, 420leaks contributor)
(425) 919-3910

John Novak (witness, 420leaks editor)
(206) 915-3450
Subject: Judge Calls State Cannabis Board Actions ‘Arbitrary and Capricious’

In October of 2014, Olympia resident Arthur West obtained public records from the Washington State Liquor Control Board showing that there were 17 secret public meetings held during the rulemaking for I-502. [1]

During the West lawsuit, the Washington State Liquor Control Board tried to argue there was a working copy of the I-502 rulemaking file, but that argument was denied by the Thurston County Superior court.

Soon many other public records from the West case made its way to [2], a site that gathers public records and other information regarding marijuana.

In these documents were evidence of a partnership between many groups, including treatment professionals, law enforcement organizations, the Association of Washington Cities, other notable non-profit government groups, and the Washington State Liquor Control Board. [3]

After reviewing many documents of the partnership’s conduct during I-502 rulemaking, John Worthington of Renton filed a lawsuit challenging the acts of the partnership during the rulemaking process in January of 2015.

Worthington requested to review the I-502 rulemaking file used to develop I-502 rules and was told that the original rulemaking file no longer existed, but that a ”final” copy of the rulemaking file was made available to him.   Several other researchers made the same request and were given differing results.

He then requested an electronic copy through the public records act and was told he was given the “initial” copy of the rulemaking file.

At that point, Worthington filed a petition to adopt, amend and repeal with the Washington State Liquor Control Board and asked them to repeal the rules for I-502 because they tampered with the rulemaking file after the rules for I-502 were made.

Worthington made a rules challenge pursuant to RCW 34.05.375, which challenges the validity of rules that are not developed properly by adhering to several statutes. One of those statutes is the rulemaking file.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board ruled Worthington did not cite any specific rules to be repealed and also ruled they followed the proper procedures for rulemaking outlined in RCW 34.05.375.

Worthington filed a judicial review of that decision. [4]

On May 6, 2016, the Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch ruled the agency decision to deny the petition was arbitrary and capricious and remanded the matter back to the Washington State Liquor Control Board. [5]

Worthington was not satisfied with the decision, as the court had not made a ruling on the rules validity challenge and requested the trial court to answer the issue of whether there was such a thing as a “final” copy of the rulemaking file.  He also asked the court to determine if the rules could still be valid without an “original” rulemaking file.

The court would not rule on that issue despite the fact the issue was before the agency and argued in three briefs to the trial court.

It was reasoned that Worthington had not objected to a rulemaking file not being placed into the agency record.

Worthington’s position is that the agency had the responsibility to provide the rulemaking file for a rules review.

He also argued the Washington State Liquor Control Board has admitted the original rulemaking file does not exist, so it is futile to add a final copy to the record.

Worthington also feels the remand to the agency is futile because they have already admitted once the board developed the rules, Karen McCall, the rules Coordinator at the time, permanently altered the rulemaking file, and thus invalidated the rules for I-502.

Now he has to file an interlocutory appeal with the Appellate court in an attempt to get a court to answer the question no court seems to want to answer.

Is there such a thing as a ”final” copy of a rulemaking file, and are the rules for I-502 invalidated because the  Washington State Liquor Control Board rules coordinator decided to remove documents from a rulemaking file after the board had made rules?

To make matters worse, the original board, consisting of Sharon Foster, Chris Marr, and Ruthann Kurose have admitted under oath they never authorized a “final” or “working” copy of a rulemaking file. Even worse yet is that removing public documents is a class C felony.

As of now, justice seems to elude Worthington and the Washington State justice system has appeared to suborn felony crimes, enabling the Washington State Liquor Control Board to make a mockery of the rulemaking process, without any real consequences other than giving them another chance to lie their way out of being held accountable.

Perhaps a billion dollar industry is special enough to warrant such special treatment, but to the rest of us that are expected to pay traffic tickets and obey the law it is a slap in the face.

[1] Judge Finds WSLCB Broke the Law 17 Times Making I-502 Rules:

[2] Public Records Database from Arthur West:

[3] I-502: OPMA, MMJ, Public Records and the “Partnership”:

[4] Motion to the court:

[5] Judge’s signed order from May 6:

All 420leaks public records available at