cannabis action coalition
By Steve Elliott
A Seattle-based medical marijuana patient advocacy group, the Cannabis Action Coalition, has filed a recall petition against Governor Jay Inslee with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office.
The petition alleges corruption related to the Washington State Liquor Control Board's implementation of cannabis legalization Initiative 502.
"It's pretty clear that no matter which party prevails, the losing party will file an expedited appeal with the Washington State Supreme Court, said activist Steve Sarich, who heads up the CAC. "The best information we have is that this could happen within 10 days of the Superior Court decision."
Sarich was a guest on Tuesday's "Mike Bastinelli Show." Sarich talked about the flaws in I-502 that will affect medical marijuana patients in Washington, and the group's allegations against Gov. Inslee.
Sarich ran the No On I-502 campaign. He opposed the measure because of its per se DUI level of 5 nanograms of THC of milliliter of blood (5 ng/mg), which is not a true level of impairment; because it didn't remove any of the laws that made marijuana illegal in the first place (in fact, it added several new ways you can be arrested for cannabis); and because it will result in the over-taxation of medical marijuana, because of claims that the MMJ community is cutting into the revenue stream of proposed recreational marijuana outlets.
By Steve Elliott
The federal government has said it won't sue to challenge the marijuana legalization laws approved by voters in Washington and Colorado. But ironically, many medicinal cannabis patients in Washington state say they still have plenty to fear -- from the rules for recreational marijuana legalization as I-502 is implemented.
Washington patients are "justifiably scared" by threats that the state (and possibly federal agents as well) will go after medical marijuana growing and selling which falls outside of the system created by I-502, according to activist Steve Sarich, executive director of the Cannabis Action Coalition, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle P.I..
Could safe access to medicinal strains be going away? State-licensed recreational marijuana producers and retailers won't have much incentive to grow or sell specialty medical strains, many of which, by definition, have a very limited customer base.
Sarich, who campaigned against I-502, thinks the new law will result in more patients being charged with DUI under the new strict standards (5 ng/ml of active THC in the blood, which science has shown is not correlated to impairment among experienced users) imposed under the measure. He believes the entire medical marijuana community is "under siege."
Colorado and Washington to Establish Systems for State-Regulated Marijuana Retail Sales
By Steve Elliott
At a Thursday press briefing, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it will allow Colorado and Washington to move forward with implementation of laws establishing state-regulated systems of marijuana production and distribution.
Attorney General Eric Holder told the governors of Washington and Colorado that the DoJ would "allow" the states to create a system of regulation implementing the ballot initiatives that legalized adult use of marijuana, reports Ryan Grim at The Huffington Post.
The directive will also apply to the 20 states that have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole also issued a three-and-a-half page memo to U.S. Attorneys.
"The Department's guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that will address the threat those state laws could pose to public safety, public health and other law enforcement interests," Cole's memo reads. "A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice."
The memo outlines eight priorities for federal prosecutors enforcing marijuana laws. According to the new guidance, DoJ will still prosecute individuals or entities to prevent:
• The distribution of cannabis to minors;
By Steve Elliott
A new lawsuit has been filed against the City of Bellingham, Washington by the Seattle-based medical marijuana advocacy group Cannabis Action Coalition, setting the stage for another battle over the legality of medicinal cannabis dispensaries.
The lawsuit, filed on July 15, challenges the Bellingham City council's unanimous July 1 vote to impose interim zoning restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries by means of an "emergency" ordinance, reports John Stark at The Bellingham Herald.
One of those signing the lawsuit, filed in Whatcom County Superior Court, is Martin Nickerson, operator of the Northern Cross Collective downtown. Nickerson and two of his employees were arrested in March 2012, and are facing a November 12, 2013 criminal trial on several felony counts for alleged possession and sale of marijuana.
Nickerson and his lawyers have filed two previous lawsuits challenging the city's actions.
Five days after police raided Northern Cross in 2012, attorneys representing Northern Cross sought an injunction to block the city taking further action. Nickerson and his employees had gone to great lengths to keep the collective's activities within state law, according to the attorneys.
By Steve Elliott
From all over the Puget Sound area and throughout the state the medicinal cannabis patients came, and together, at the Washington state Capitol on Wednesday, they spoke with one voice: "Keep The Liquor Control Board Out Of My Medical Marijuana."
Dozens of cannabis advocates gathered in Olympia to protest efforts by the Legislature to include the medical marijuana industry under the state's new recreational cannabis law, Initiative 502, approved by voters last November.
Lawmakers are considering bills that would put the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) in charge of a study to see how "integration" of the two spheres -- medical and recreational cannabis -- would work. Investors in the state's newly legal recreational marijuana industry fear that medical cannabis could draw customers away from the highly regulated, stiffly taxed pot that will theoretically be available in state stores early next year.
"We have said that the medical marijuana market is a challenge to the success of the recreational market, the reason being that a certain percentage of people are buying it through the medical marijuana market for recreational purposes," claimed Brian E. Smith, speaking for the Liquor Control Board, reports Melissa Santos of the Tacoma News Tribune. "They would be competing with the recreational market, which is heavily taxed and highly regulated."
By Steve Elliott
Residents who use cannabis as medicine, angry about an amendment that was quietly slipped into the state Senate and House budget bills, will be gathering from all over the state of Washington in Olympia at the Capitol Campus Wednesday, June 19. They say the rally is to "save medical cannabis in Washington."
The patients are upset about an amendment that would put the control of their medical fate in the hands of the state Liquor Control Board. This amendment could fundamentally change every section of the state's current medical cannabis laws, according to patient advocates.
These regulations would include limits on age, the amount of medication a patient could have, which conditions would qualify, where they could get their medication and who could actually grow it.
The Liquor Control Board has already stated publicly that they believe that the tax-free status of cannabis as a medication would be a ‘threat’ to the LCB’s projected revenue stream from recreational marijuana sales. Current state law does not tax medications that require a health care provider's signature. This law could single out cannabis as the only medication in the state targeted for taxation.
“I have a brain tumor and they’re going to decide how much medicine I need and then they’re going to tax it," said Ken Martin, a medical marijuana patient from Seattle. "I don’t pay tax on any of my other medications. This is nothing more than greed on the part of the LCB and the state Legislature.”