Archive for Washington State Liquor Control Board

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

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 Box.com 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: https://app.box.com/s/olrpzuew865scmv7q3es12zw6s467pm4
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.

AND START LISTENING TO THE PATIENTS, THEIR DESIGNATED PROVIDERS AND HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS WHEN IT COMES TO OUR CANNABIS LAWS!

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)” <missy.norton@lcb.wa.gov>
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 box.com. 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: https://lcb.box.com/s/7z3mvt1v2trdcv7ulrof9rskt9u1zsm4

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:

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)

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.

Sincerely,

Missy Norton
Records Manager
Office – 360-664-1693/Fax – 360-664-9689
mka@liq.wa.gov

From: John Novak [mailto:changingplanet@hotmail.com]
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2016 1:33 PM
To: Norton, Melissa K (LCB) <missy.norton@lcb.wa.gov>
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.

Thanks,
John

——– Original message ——–
From: “Norton, Melissa K (LCB)” <missy.norton@lcb.wa.gov>
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
mka@liq.wa.gov

 

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

 

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.

https://gofundme.com/27zwpsk

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:  https://gofundme.com/27zwpsk

 

420leaks Press Release

Contact info:

John Worthington (Plaintiff, 420leaks contributor)
(425) 919-3910
worthingtonjw2u@hotmail.com

John Novak (witness, 420leaks editor)
(206) 915-3450
420leaks@gmail.com
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 420leaks.com [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:
http://420leaks.com/?p=631

[2] 420leaks.com Public Records Database from Arthur West:
https://app.box.com/s/46qnsr90gnnazb3d2r0t/1/2878026511

[3] I-502: OPMA, MMJ, Public Records and the “Partnership”:
http://420leaks.com/?p=689

[4] Motion to the court:
https://app.box.com/s/46qnsr90gnnazb3d2r0t/1/2733141802/62085057609/1

[5] Judge’s signed order from May 6:
https://app.box.com/s/imhug87958zp2cbeggildistb50k25nj

All 420leaks public records available at
https://app.box.com/s/46qnsr90gnnazb3d2r0t

Was I-502 Tax Money Not Distributed as Voters Intended?

By John Novak

It appears that no tax money was ever paid out as intended by the voters for I-502.  The WSLCB has stated in a public records request response that they’ve “…performed a search of our records including inquiry to the Finance Division for the WSLCB. We have discovered no records that are responsive to this request, as the Finance Division has indicated to us no such disbursements have occurred to date.”

No disbursements?

Where did the money go?  That’s over one year’s worth of tax money, around $70 MILLION, promised to different stakeholders that endorsed and supported the initiative during the I-502 campaign.Two days after this response from the WSLCB, I see this headline:
 What happened to the $70 million collected the first year?
“According to the state Liquor and Cannabis Board, the total marijuana sales (sale price plus tax) from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, tallied almost $260 million. Of the $6 million in marijuana excise taxes Washington state will distribute this fiscal year, cities will receive 40 percent, and the counties will receive 60 percent.”
So the WSLCB has been sitting on it until the legislators changed the statutes so law enforcement and the cities would get your tax dollars instead.
That is not what the voters wanted back in 2012 and unless they plan to pay those original earmarks this sounds to me like a fraud on taxpayers.  Although with the way laws are written, it’s probably legal.The question is, who decided this policy of withholding funds and when was it decided?  What about the other $63 Million?According to the initiative as passed by the voters, the WSLCB has control over these funds…

NEW SECTION. Sec. 26. (1) There shall be a fund, known as the dedicated marijuana fund, which shall consist of all marijuana excise taxes, license fees, penalties, forfeitures, and all other moneys, income, or revenue received by the state liquor control board from marijuana-related activities. The state treasurer shall be custodian of the fund.
(2) All moneys received by the state liquor control board or any employee thereof from marijuana-related activities shall be deposited each day in a depository approved by the state treasurer and transferred to the state treasurer to be credited to the dedicated marijuana fund.
(3) Disbursements from the dedicated marijuana fund shall be on authorization of the state liquor control board or a duly authorized representative thereof.
Section 28 lays out how the tax money will be used…
NEW SECTION. Sec. 28. All marijuana excise taxes collected from sales of marijuana, useable marijuana, and marijuana-infused products under section 27 of this act, and the license fees, penalties, and forfeitures derived under this act from marijuana producer, marijuana processor, and marijuana retailer licenses shall every three months be disbursed by the state liquor control board as follows:
(1) One hundred twenty-five thousand dollars to the department of social and health services to design and administer the Washington state healthy youth survey, analyze the collected data, and produce reports, in collaboration with the office of the superintendent of public instruction, department of health, department of commerce, family policy council, and state liquor control board. The survey shall be conducted at least every two years and include questions regarding, but not necessarily limited to, academic achievement, age at time of substance use initiation, antisocial behavior of friends, attitudes toward antisocial behavior, attitudes toward substance use, laws and community norms regarding antisocial behavior, family conflict, family management, parental attitudes toward substance use, peer rewarding of antisocial behavior, perceived risk of substance use, and rebelliousness. Funds disbursed under this subsection may be used to expand administration of the healthy youth survey to student populations attending institutions of higher education in Washington;
(2) Fifty thousand dollars to the department of social and health services for the purpose of contracting with the Washington state institute for public policy to conduct the cost-benefit evaluation and produce the reports described in section 30 of this act. This appropriation shall end after production of the final report required by section 30 of this act;
(3) Five thousand dollars to the University of Washington alcohol and drug abuse institute for the creation, maintenance, and timely updating of web-based public education materials providing medically and scientifically accurate information about the health and safety risks posed by marijuana use;  
(4) An amount not exceeding one million two hundred fifty thousand dollars to the state liquor control board as is necessary for administration of this act;
(5) Of the funds remaining after the disbursements identified in subsections (1) through (4) of this section:
(a) Fifteen percent to the department of social and health services division of behavioral health and recovery for implementation and maintenance of programs and practices aimed at the prevention or reduction of maladaptive substance use, substance-use disorder, substance abuse or substance dependence, as these terms are defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, among middle school and high school age students, whether as an explicit goal of a given program or practice or as a consistently corresponding effect of its implementation; PROVIDED, That: (i) Of the funds disbursed under (a) of this subsection, at least eighty-five percent must be directed to evidence-based and costbeneficial programs and practices that produce objectively measurable results; and (ii) Up to fifteen percent of the funds disbursed under (a) of this subsection may be directed to research-based and emerging best practices or promising practices. In deciding which programs and practices to fund, the secretary of the department of social and health services shall consult, at least annually, with the University of Washington’s social development research group and the University of Washington’s alcohol and drug abuse institute;
(b) Ten percent to the department of health for the creation, implementation, operation, and management of a marijuana education and public health program that contains the following: (i) A marijuana use public health hotline that provides referrals to substance abuse treatment providers, utilizes evidence-based or research-based public health approaches to minimizing the harms associated with marijuana use, and does not solely advocate an abstinence-only approach;
Sources:

One Year Of Legal Marijuana Generated $70 Million In Tax Revenue For Washington State
Posted: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/06/washington-marijuana-taxes-70-million_n_7737722.html

Vancouver to receive $790,000 in pot excise taxes
Published: October 1, 2015, 6:36 PM
http://www.columbian.com/news/2015/oct/01/vancouver-to-receive-800000-in-pot-excise-taxes/

House Bill 2136 (Effective date 7/1/2015) – Concerning comprehensive marijuana market reforms to ensure a well-regulated and taxed marijuana market in Washington state.
http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2015-16/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Laws/House/2136-S2.SL.pdf

Initiative 502 – Full copy of the initiative as passed by voters in November, 2012
http://www.newapproachwa.org/content/initiative

Full response from the WSLCB via email about my public records request:

From: missy.norton@lcb.wa.gov
To: changingplanet@hotmail.com
Subject: FW: Amended Request RE: WSLCB PRR 15-07-123
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2015 22:15:29 +0000

Dear Mr. Novak:

This letter further responds to your public records request. 

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) received the attached public records request from you on July 22, 2015. We first wrote to you regarding your request on July 29, 2015. We received your amended request on July 30, 2015.

You have phrased your amended request as follows: “This is a public records request for all official public records of disbursement of funds, any warrants, vouchers, receipts, checks issued and communications about same under I-502. The dates I am requesting is everything between January 1, 2012 to present, in electronic format, if possible.” You also attached as a reference two statutes: RCW 69.50.540 (“Marijuana excise taxes – Disbursements”) and RCW 40.14.010 (“Definition and classification of public records”). We interpret your request as seeking “any warrants, vouchers, receipts, checks issued and communications” pursuant to RCW 69.50.540 (“Marijuana excise taxes – Disbursements”).

We have performed a search of our records including inquiry to the Finance Division for the WSLCB. We have discovered no records that are responsive to this request, as the Finance Division has indicated to us no such disbursements have occurred to date.

If you wish to rephrase and submit a different request for identifiable records in the future, we would be pleased to process that request as we have in the past. We have neither redacted nor deleted any record that is responsive to your request as we have interpreted it, and again we respectfully deny the rephrased request that you submitted on or about July 22, 2015, as no disbursements have occurred under the statutory basis that you provided. 

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

Sincerely,

Missy Norton
Records Manager
Office – 360-664-1693/Fax – 360-664-9689 mka@liq.wa.gov