– 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.