Archive for I-502

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

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?

pottaxes

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

Medical Cannabis Patients Gather to Support Compassionate Use Laws

Medical Cannabis Patients Gather to Support Compassionate Use Laws
By Sarah Wood
Staff reporter – The Viper’s Club
For immediate release
Contact: thevipersclub@gmail.com

(Olympia, Washington) On July 24th, 2015 beginning at 11:am, Medical Cannabis patients from all over Washington will gather on the north steps of Legislative building at the State Capitol.

There they will hold a press conference concerning the violation of patient’s rights going into effect that day, to discuss how the changes of I-502 and the newly signed law Senate Bill 5052 will affect access to care practitioners and medication.

The media has poorly portrayed I-502 stores as victims, while thousands of patients fear losing safe, affordable, and local access to their medication.

It is now our turn to speak our voices, to be heard, and to stand up for our rights and the rights of all patients.With I-502 stores spreading across the state, many are very concerned and outraged at the decision to shut down the medical dispensaries and collective gardens which offer safe, affordable and convenient access to medicine.

Robert McKim of Olympia states, “I have had success with treating my cancer with RSO(concentrated cannabis oil), I am sure that the government and [their] cronies could care less. Limiting the number of plants and having to buy at four times the price, will effectively force me to turn the doctors and the scalpels loose on me.”

“To remove hope from the sick is a criminal act, a few tax dollars is more important than a human life? How can the government and the WSLCB nullify a voter approved law?”, he asked.

With depleting availability, prices skyrocketing, and concern of repercussions from federal law enforcement if forced to be added to a registry, many will be forced to seek alternative options.

Another patient from Puyallup writes, “When the dispensaries are gone, I will have no other option than retail. I will not comply.

“Patients will simply return to the unregulated, unreformed “black market” where they were receiving their medication before. This is a big step backwards and in the wrong direction for the process of cannabis reform and compassionate use laws.”

With the newly written law, it will become almost impossible for patients to renew and keep their medical cannabis recommendations.

It is stated that patients will now have to get their recommendation for medical cannabis from their existing primary care doctor, or from the doctor that treats them for their condition. It must be proven that all other medication has failed.

A concerned patient Colleen Henne writes, “I live outside of Seattle and have no car,I talked to the Foundation where I get my recommendation, THCF. The new law says all examinations and re-examinations take place at the provider’s permanent place of business. I got my last recommendation out of a hotel room in Bellevue. I am very concerned as many of my friends have already lost theirs due to the clinics being shut down, with more becoming unauthorized as of July 24th also.”

With doctors concerned over losing their license to practice medicine, many will chose not to prescribe cannabis, even if it is the safest alternative medicine.

Cannabis can no longer be used as an alternative against harsh and powerful prescription drugs. Instead, patients who are already suffering will either be prescribed medications with harsh side effects or they will have to take their medical care into their own hands.

In addition to the closure of dispensaries and collective gardens, and reduction of plants that can be grown, other forms of medicinal cannabis such as oil concentrates like BHO or butane hash oil, which offer patients a faster and more effective way to medicate, will also become unavailable or unaffordably priced.

The new law states that all forms of butane extraction will be prohibited unless processed by someone who is licensed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, and no such licensed person(s) in the medical community exist as of yet.

Patients who find this form of cannabis most effective will also be forced to either get their medication from a recreational store or find other means.

Many cannot afford the prices of the state run stores, or do not live close enough to one to have access. The state has chosen tax dollars over the safety and well being of the sick and dying,letting greed influence their decisions.Patients are no longer being treated as people looking for relief from suffering and debilitating condition. They are instead being treated like unwanted vermin getting in the way of a corporations and sold out for a quick buck at the expense of our health.

They are being forced from the comfortability of their existing care providers which they have been with for years, made to deal with recreational retailers who know little to nothing about the products they are selling.

Furthermore, medication is being treated solely as a recreational substance.

Patients, lawyers, advocates and many others from all walks of life fought long and hard for patients ability to use cannabis as their medication, and they will continue to fight.

Their voices will not be silenced, and they will not let the rights they fought so hard for be stripped from them. They are willing to stand up to fight for themselves, for each other, and for what is right.

Together as one united they will speak out for their rights until their voices are heard and they have safe, affordable and convenient access to their medication.

ACLU and NORML Win Ruling Limiting Citizens’ Rights

Corporations-are-not-people

ACLU AND NORML WIN RULING LIMITING CITIZENS’ RIGHTS
By Arthur West

(Olympia, WA) Court of Appeals rules on behalf of ACLU that citizens have no civil right to maintain a citizen’s action under the Public Disclosure Act.

Please find attached a July 14 ruling by Commissioner Schmidt of Division II of the Court of Appeals, that, ironically, upholds an order of dismissal obtained by the ACLU (and NORML) arguing that unrepresented citizens lack the right to maintain citizen’s actions under Washington State’s Public Disclosure Act.

Appellant had sued NORML and the ACLU to require them to be subject to reporting as Political Action Committees due to their massive financial support of I-502, which “legalized” marijuana for those obtaining licenses or buying from licensed stores.

The ruling relies upon federal Qui Tam precedent to find that the Public Disclosure Act’s Citizen Action provisions (originally passed by Initiative in 1972) cannot be employed by citizens unless they retain attorneys to represent them.

Attorney Elizabeth Hallock, appearing for the appellant, had argued that the PDA and federal Qui Tam actions are not identical and that a  citizen’s interest under the PDA is different than a relator charging fraud upon the government. Counsel also argued that the intent of the people in adopting the Citizen’s action provisions of PDA could not have been to require citizens to have attorneys, and that this would make the prospect of citizen enforcement dubious at best,due to the novelty of the subject matter and the lack of any provision in the law to ensure recovery of costs.

The Commissioner’s ruling may conflict with a recent Supreme Court decision in Utter v. BIAW that explicitly found that citizens had a right to maintain such actions under Washington Law.

The Court also declined to find NORML to be subject to PAC reporting requirements, or remand the case back to the Superior Court for the appellant’s recently retained attorney to argue that NORML, as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. is subject to the PAC reporting requirements of the PDA because one of its primary purposes was to make expenditures to influence a ballot proposition, I-502.

The ACLU and NORML wrote, financed, ran and co-ordinated New Approach Washington, and heavily supported I-502 with donations and staff support. Allison Holcomb, the figurehead for I-502, was the Washington ACLU’s Drug Policy Director. The complaint had alleged that both NORML and the ACLU made substantial expenditures to support a ballot proposition, and were thus subject to PAC reporting requirements.

The ruling is subject to review by a panel of the Court of Appeals and possible discretionary review by the State Supreme Court.