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: https://gofundme.com/27zwpsk
420leaks Press Release
John Worthington (Plaintiff, 420leaks contributor)
John Novak (witness, 420leaks editor)
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. 
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 , 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. 
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. 
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. 
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.
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.”
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;
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.
Missy Norton Records Manager Office – 360-664-1693/Fax – 360-664-9689 firstname.lastname@example.org
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…
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:
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. http://www.ioos.noaa.gov/library/grantsgovsflll.pdf
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.