The state’s new medical marijuana law took effect Friday. But between the governor’s reckless partial veto, the unresolved state-federal conflict, and a state Attorney General who hides under his desk every time he hears the word ‘marijuana’, no one seems to have any idea exactly what the law does or doesn’t allow.
To give a brief illustration of how fucked up this is, here’s part of the new law [emphasis mine]:
The medical use of cannabis in accordance with the terms and conditions of this chapter does not constitute a crime and a qualifying patient or designated provider in compliance with the terms and conditions of this chapter may not be arrested, prosecuted, or subject to other criminal sanctions or civil consequences, for possession, manufacture, or delivery of, or for possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, cannabis under state law, or have real or personal property seized or forfeited for possession, manufacture, or delivery of, or for possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, cannabis under state law, and investigating peace officers and law enforcement agencies maynot be held civilly liable for failure to seize cannabis in this circumstance, if:
(2) The qualifying patient or designated provider presents his or her proof of registration with the department of health, to any peace officer who questions the patient or provider regarding his or her medical use of cannabis;
(3) The qualifying patient or designated provider keeps a copy of his or her proof of registration with the registry established in section 901 of this act and the qualifying patient or designated provider’s contact information posted prominently next to any cannabis plants, cannabis products, or useable cannabis located at his or her residence;
One rather large problem here…section 901 and the registry were vetoed by the governor. So instead of finally having a class of patients protected from arrest, we still have a medical marijuana law that makes it impossible to avoid getting arrested by any police officer who decides to overrule your doctor’s recommendation.
Despite this, there’s a new section (1102) that still supposedly leaves the door open for cities like Seattle to allow for what this bill was supposed to do before Gregoire mutilated it: Regulate the distribution of medical marijuana.
(1) Cities and towns may adopt and enforce any of the following pertaining to the production, processing, or dispensing of cannabis or cannabis products within their jurisdiction: Zoning requirements, business licensing requirements, health and safety requirements, and business taxes. Nothing in this act is intended to limit the authority of cities and towns to impose zoning requirements or other conditions upon licensed dispensers, so long as such requirements do not preclude the possibility of siting licensed dispensers within the jurisdiction. If the jurisdiction has no commercial zones, the jurisdiction is not required to adopt zoning to accommodate licensed dispensers.
But as I mentioned on Tuesday, defense attorney Douglas Hiatt thinks that this section is invalid. In his opinion, because there’s still only an affirmative defense (while all marijuana possession remains illegal at the state level), Seattle and other municipalities can’t regulate it. In his opinion, the state isn’t allowed to regulate what remains an illegal activity. Nick Licata, in a statement regarding the proposed regulations for Seattle dispensaries, appears to misstate Hiatt’s case [emphasis mine again]:
This ordinance is the City’s response to a bill passed by the Washington State Legislature earlier this year – and that will go into effect on July 22 – that permits cities to regulate and license the production, processing, or dispensing of cannabis products within their jurisdiction. Although my recent bill received a great deal of media coverage, the legislation will only make sure dispensaries across the city act like the businesses they are, and that we hold them accountable as such rather than only turning a blind eye.
This ordinance is a crucial step forward toward providing clarity for medical cannabis dispensaries in the area, particularly in wake of the new state law. While the federal government still prohibits the production, processing, dispensing, and possession of medical cannabis, responding to the state government’s new rules is a responsibility that will minimize the impact of changes to the roughly 25,000 Seattle medical cannabis users.
Some opponents of the legislation have questioned whether the City has the authority to regulate a federally prohibited substance, such as medical cannabis. The legislation in every way recognizes that there is a federal prohibition, but also takes the needed steps to ensure safety and basic standards of dispensaries in Seattle. Regardless of whether the business is illegal, we want to make sure it is not jeopardizing the rights, health or safety of the surrounding community, which is why this ordinance is so important.
That’s actually not what Hiatt is questioning. Hiatt is questioning whether Seattle can regulate a substance that remains illegal at the state level, not the federal level. Now I’m still not sure whether Hiatt’s opinion makes sense legally (although I’m aware that several attorneys strongly disagree with him), but it’s not good that no one even seems to understand what he’s even arguing. As another attorney I spoke to mentioned, this will eventually be decided in a courtroom – probably fairly soon – and it’s really hard to predict how any judge is going to interpret all this.
One thing that does seem to be clear about the law is that anyone setting up shop in Seattle (or any other tolerant city) to provide medical marijuana must abide by the framework of Section 403, which defines “collective gardens”. Thanks to the governor, simply selling medical marijuana to authorized patients remains illegal, so if folks want to set up a storefront, they’ll have to organize their business in a way that segments their customer base into 10-person cooperatives and ensure that people only get supplied with medicine from their own designated garden. With the City Council estimating that there are roughly 25,000 medical marijuana patients in the city, it could then require roughly 2,500 collective gardens to supply them all. Some of those could probably function independently in a private setting among acquaintances, but many others will likely require some entrepreneurial help organizing themselves. And it’s these large networks of patients and collective gardens that the city has an interest in regulating.
As I mentioned above, Douglas Hiatt is arguing that cities and towns can’t regulate it at all. And even if his argument has a legal basis, the politics of it are murky. Most cities want to make sure that marijuana distribution happens in a place that’s safe for both patients and the community as a whole. They’d love to have all this commerce happen in commercial and industrial areas. But if there’s an incentive to stay small enough as to not be seen as a “business”, people will strive for that. And this will inevitably lead to grow operations staying within residential areas and largely hidden. From a political standpoint, Hiatt thinks this will lead to people getting mad and demanding change. But it could also backfire and lead to futile attempts at moratoriums (maybe not in Seattle, but possibly elsewhere), which might also be against the law. No one knows.
Of course, the punch line to all of this (if you have to choose just one), is that Attorney General Rob McKenna – the gubernatorial hopeful who thinks that the individual health insurance mandate is an egregious abuse of federal power, but that the federal prohibition on marijuana is just dandy – is simply refusing to deal with any of this. When Liz Jones from KUOW contacted his office, they claimed that his office is not involved in the issue. And honestly, I have no idea if that’s a good thing or a bad thing at this point.
ONN: News of the week.
Ohio Gov. Kasich is Worst Person in the World.
Mark Fiore: We are the whirled.
White House: West Wing Week.
The G.O.P. Presidential Lunatic Asylum:
Obama calls the International Space Station.
Thom talks to a deprogrammed teabagger.
Allen West’s Letter:
Young Turks: Abstinence-only education problem in Texas.
Sen. Smith and Bill-O-the-Clown lose to James Murdoch as Worst Person in the World.
Obama ends DADT.
The ALEC Caper:
Sam Seder: The Teabaggers don’t pay their debt.
West and Palin lose out to Casino boss Steve Wynn as Worst Person in the World.
Stephen: CA gay history bill.
Faggot joke amuses FAMiLY LEADER’s (14-point marriage fidelity pledge) Bob Vander (via ThinkProgress).
Cenk Leaves MSNBC:
Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.
Reading this editorial, I think perhaps The Seattle Times does the “family newspaper” thing as an excuse. Maybe it’s just that they’re bad at making a decent edgy metaphor or joke. Take for example the idea that Rupert Murdoch gave news outlets STD’s.
RUPERT Murdoch’s malicious contagion, News Corp., has spread through journalism like a social disease. British politics picked up a nasty NC infection for Prime Minister David Cameron.
For what it’s worth, I agree with the premise that media consolidation is bad in general and in Murdoch’s case. I just question if a corporation had sex with the British Prime Minister.
Washington’s initiative process has failed as a tool of The People. It has largely become a means for the wealthy to pass their own pet laws.
The problem is so bad that even the Seattle Times has had to acknowledge it:
WITHOUT addressing specific pros and cons of any of the three statewide initiatives that appear likely to qualify for November’s ballot, it is hard to deny one glaring truth: None are truly grass roots in origin.
Got enough money and a bug up your ass about something? Buy yourself an initiative! It’s easy. It’s fun!
Just ensure the initiative dangles a small, tangible, immediate benefit to voters, and their eyes glaze over with green dollar signs as they unwittingly vote to dismantle the The Commons that they previously supported and put in place. Seriously…it’s a perverse exploitation of human greed.
This year’s prime example is Tim “biggest lie of my life” Eyman’s I-1125, which is likely to qualify for the ballot (maybe today).
The initiative will severely restrict the State’s ability to toll highways AND prevent light rail from crossing on I-90.
An initiative born of a populist grassroots uprising? Hardly. The effort is primarily funded by Bellevue real-estate baron Kemper Freeman, who has contributed over a million dollars to the initiative campaign.
Freeman has a bug up his ass…he doesn’t like light rail or something. So, he is attempting to purchase himself a law.
The law would thwart the will of the voters, who have twice voted to bring light rail to the east side. Freeman sued to stop it, and lost. So now, Freeman will exploit fear of and self-interest over tolling to pass an initiative that will stop light rail—something that voters have made abundantly clear they want.
Yesterday, King County executive Dow Constantine was on KUOW. He pointed out:
“If you shop at Bellevue Square you contribute to [the I-1125] campaign.”
Conversely, you, your family, your friends can choose to take your money elsewhere.
Ultimately, the initiative process itself must be repaired. My first choice for repair is to get rid of paid signature gatherers altogether, as Oregon did in 1935. But Oregon’s current process, passed in 1985, that prohibits signature gatherers being paid per signature would be an okay start.
Until reform happens, the wealthy will retain the privilege of purchasing their own laws.
- McGinn on KUOW about Back Page. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the audio yet, but from what I’ve read, it sounds like a drubbing.
- A damn shame that Elizabeth Warren won’t head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Community input for the Northgate light rail station.
The National Journal takes a look at Republican prospects to defeat Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) in 2012 (my emphasis):
The biggest news nugget in the otherwise sleepy Washington Senate race this week was the emergence of Scott Stanzel, a former George W. Bush spokesman, as a possible candidate against Sen. Maria Cantwell, who unlike many other Democratic incumbents, looks to be in very solid shape in her 2012 reelection bid. While Washington leans Democratic, Republicans have fielded competitive statewide candidates in recent years. But so far, no one has stepped up to take on Cantwell.
and then, again…
While no major Republican is currently running against Cantwell, the GOP have landed top statewide recruits in the recent years, and have done so this cycle in two other races.
Who are these “top statewide recruits” the article mentions? By “recent years” does the author mean 2004?!? Because, it seems to me, that’s the last time the G.O.P. “fielded competitive statewide candidates” who weren’t incumbents. Namely, Dino Rossi in his close-but-no-cigar gubernatorial bid and Rob McKenna in his U.S. Chamber of Commerce-supercharged victory over Deborah Senn.
Rossi came back a couple of times, but was he a “top recruit” after the self-inflicted damage of the recount contest?
Remember Rossi’s un-statesmanlike quasi-concession speech:
“With today’s decision, and because of the political makeup of the Washington state Supreme Court, which makes it almost impossible to overturn this ruling, I am ending the election contest.”
That statement told voters a lot about Rossi they didn’t know seven months earlier. Can a person really be considered a top recruit after that kind of statement?
Did Mike McGavick ever threaten to become a competitive candidate?
“Competitive statewide candidates?” “Top statewide recruits?”
Where do these silly memes come from?
The thing that I’ve been most perplexed about during the debt ceiling debate is that the Republicans in the Tea Party have to live in the same country as the rest of us. They’ll suffer the consequences of a default the same as the rest of us. It’s not as if they and their constituents are going to be shielded from the horror show if we hit the debt ceiling. If anything, it’ll be Republican constituents hit harder. After all, the money spent goes (in general) from Democratic urban areas to Republican rural ones. If we stop sending out Social Security checks, every state will suffer, but Republican Arizona and Florida will suffer worse. If we have to stop farm support all states will suffer, but rural Republican states (and here in Washington, Republican Congressional districts) will suffer worse than urban Democratic ones.
Additionally, the liberal cities and counties aren’t the ones teetering on the edge in danger of default if their credit rating worsens. While Seattle will surely suffer through a default, Jefferson County, Alabama will suffer worse (h/t). In short, the pain isn’t distributed evenly.
Of course, I don’t want anyone to experience the pain that will come from unnecessarily defaulting (I don’t think it’ll be awful, but I do think it’ll be bad, and totally unnecessary, if it happens). The point is that on the policy alone, Republicans should want a clean bill. Nobody benefits from hitting our heads on the debt ceiling, but Republicans stand be hit harder.
If you live in Seattle, chances are you can do most of your errands by walking:
Seattle was ranked as the sixth most walkable city of the 50 largest cities in the US, according to Seattle-based WalkScore.com which rates neighborhoods, cities and states to determine how walkable they are.
The site found New York as the nation’s most walkable city, followed closely by San Francisco. Boston, Chicago and Philadephia were the other states [sic] that triumphed above Seattle in the walkability category.
The top three walkable neighborhoods in Seattle were Denny Triangle, with a Walk Score of 98, and South Lake Union and Belltown, which both received the high score of 97.
Oh…and this interactive map is runner-up Cool graphic of the Day. It allows you to see walkability scores for cities around the country, and you can restrict it to cities that fall within a desired minimum and maximum population size. Nifty.
- News reports on Laura Ruderman have stated that she’s running for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Jay Inslee, however in her FEC Statement of Organization filing, she left the district field blank. On June 28, the FEC sent her a letter asking her to specify which district she plans to run in.
- Scott Morgan writes about the myth that support for marijuana law reform is political suicide. This actually reminded me of an incident recently at Drinking Liberally in Burien. A certain city council candidate for a city just outside of Seattle showed up with his campaign manager on a night when I came by to collect signatures for I-1149. The candidate himself was very forthright with me that not only did he think marijuana should be legal, but that we should even look at different ways of dealing with harder drugs. But his campaign manager (both men were probably in their 50s) sternly advised him not to sign my petition. He was convinced that if it became public that he signed a petition to legalize marijuana, it would wreck his chances in the campaign.
I found that to be laughable and said that in the greater Seattle area today, the opposite is almost true. Failing to support the legalization of marijuana could actually hurt you politically. Not to mention that Ron Paul, who’s been on record supporting the legalization of marijuana for over twenty years, keeps getting re-elected in the one of most conservative parts of the country. But this is how many folks in the political establishment still think. The taboo that marijuana represented long ago still lives on in the minds of political consultants, even though the political risks to supporting reform are non-existent today.
Later on at that Drinking Liberally event, though, State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon – one of the youngest, if not the youngest, member of the state legislature – signed my I-1149 petition as that same campaign manager tried to warn him not to.
- Seattle has become the first city in the state to move forward with a plan for regulating medical marijuana establishments. Under the parts of the bill that escaped the governor’s veto pen, it’s now legal for a group of up to 10 authorized patients to band together and form a “collective garden”. And there’s nothing in the new law that prevents someone from opening up a storefront and making it the shared access point for a large number of those collective gardens (Seattle alone probably has more than 20,000 authorized patients, meaning the city could have over 2,000 collective gardens). The city of Seattle has an interest in controlling where those access points will be located and have them pay business taxes just like any other establishment.
But now, attorney Douglas Hiatt is threatening to sue the city over the regulations. I’ve worked with Douglas a lot for I-1149 and I’m frankly baffled by what he’s doing. When I emailed him about why he was planning to sue, he told me that it’s because marijuana is illegal at the state level still, so the city can’t regulate it. After re-reading the actual language of SB 5073 that passed, I don’t think that’s true, but that’s actually beside the point. These are regulations that will allow for Seattle to have a system of access for medical marijuana that’s above-ground and – while still an administrative mess (thanks governor!) – better for patients. And the relevant local law enforcement figures are perfectly ok with it. The only entity I would expect to nitpick the legality of all this in order to shut it down is the DEA, not someone with a well-earned reputation for defending the state’s medical marijuana patients in court.
Please join us tonight for drinks, conversation, and dinner at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking liberally.
We meet at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. Starting time is 8:00 pm, but a few folks show up earlier for dinner.
Last week we had a terrific turn-out for state Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45 LD), who is running for Congress in Washington’s 1st CD, the seat currently held by Rep. Jay Inslee. We also had first-hand reports from folks who attended a public hearing on King County Transit service cuts.
Can’t make it tonight? Drinking Liberally Tacoma meets on Thursday, July 21 at the Hub Restaurant. Starting time is 7:00pm. And with 230 chapters of Living Liberally, including seven chapters in Washington state, chances are good there’s one near you.
The AP reports that former Pres. George W. Bush Deputy White House spokesperson and Bush-Cheney ‘04 Press Secretary, Scott Stanzel, is mulling over a run against Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA):
Scott Stanzel said Monday he will look at whether to challenge Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell in a race next year. He said he won’t decide until after he gets married in September.
One shouldn’t take lightly the propagandist who (1) helped sell George and Dick’s Excellent Military Adventure, (2) got Bush and Cheney reelected, and (3) managed to keep Bush and Cheney from being impeached or arrested for war crimes. Those are remarkable accomplishments.
On the other hand, many of the PR disasters that made George Bush the most unpopular President ever occurred on his watch.
As a former Bush-Cheney ‘04 propagandist, Stanzel leaves behind a trail of statements that, quite frankly, won’t win over the hearts Washington voters. A search of the InnerTubes will reveal appearances of Stanzel attacking Sen. John Kerry that, outside the context of a heated presidential campaign, come off as petty. Likewise, his statements in his role as White House propagandist for Bush/Cheney administration will likely come back to haunt him. Finally, Stanzel has had some participation in the media campaign by ex-Bush administration people against Pres. Obama. That, too, will provide some fodder that will be used against him.
If you recognize the name Scott Stanzel at all, it is probably because he was the campaign manager for Defeat 1098, the group credited with defeating the Washington state high earner’s income tax initiative (I-1098). The up-side for Stanzel is that he has a track record on a “populist” issue in Washington state.
The down side of Defeat 1098 for Stanzel’s potential senatorial bid? In a post Citizens United world, I am imagining the kind of independent campaign that William Gates, Sr. might decide to fund against Stanzel.
Payback’s a bitch!
This is a bit old, but good for the state for rebuilding state route 410. And now that the precedent has been set, I assume there’s a cost overrun provision. I mean to have a cost overrun provision in a county that gets $0.62 back for every dollar it puts into state coffers, but not one that gets back 2.24, well that would be madness. So while I don’t like the idea of cost overrun provisions in general, at least we’re being fair.
What? The state only has the cost overrun provision in the King County project? Well then, I guess I’ll have to vote to Reject Referendum 1.
I can’t tell you how glad I am that the Seattle City Council passed the food truck ordinance. Having hotdog vendors and taco trucks downtown is great. You can grab one on the go. You can realize it’s 10:30 PM on a Saturday and you haven’t started anything, so you know what it’s time for a hotdog. In the suburbs or further out you don’t get that. Also, any additional eyes on the street and incentive to get people walking at night is going to be good for the city.
Of course, the quality varies from place to place. Generally though, they’re pretty good food. And if you’ve had a few drinks and are stumbling home, the quality of the food isn’t really the prime concern.
The Seattle Times editorial on the possibility of letting some Seattle bars stay open past 2:00 (emphasis mine).
The 2 a.m. closing time, which is the rule across Washington, is fairly common — it is the closing time in Austin, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego and San Francisco. Vancouver, B.C., closes bars at 3 a.m. and New York and Chicago close them at 4 a.m.
I don’t know who wrote the editorial, but it got me thinking about Joni Balter’s piece a while ago about how if San Francisco does anything, Seattle shouldn’t. It seems to me that the fact that San Francisco does or doesn’t do a thing can provide guidance (how did it work out there?), but isn’t in itself particularly useful as an argument for or against doing something.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
[...] And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Thom and Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead: GOP following the Taliban Path?.
White House: Ruby Bridges visits with the President and her portrait.
Bill O’Reilly is once again the Worst Person in the World.
Thom with more The Good, The Bad, and the Very Very Ugly.
FAUX’s Eric Bolling is Worst Person in the World.
Thom with guest Alan Grayson: Running to get his congressional seat back and why.
White House: West Wing Week.
The Republican Primary Asylum:
Thom with The Good, The Bad, and the Very Very Ugly.
911 tapes: Young Republicans at Rob McKenna event want some guvment services! (Via Publicola).
The Default Standoff:
Ann Telnaes: Define rights of CEOs .
Some misguided Minnesota senator is Worst Person in the World.
Thom with even more of the Good, the Bad and the Very, Very Ugly.
Bill-O calls in to The Young Turks.
Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.